2022 NCAA Lacrosse Preview: No. 20 Penn (Women)

PHOTO BY DON FELICE / PENN ATHLETICS

Standout defender Ellen O'Callaghan played in Penn’s only game last year, a 16-11 win over crosstown foe LaSalle.


The 2022 college lacrosse season is nearly upon us. As is our annual tradition, we’re featuring every team ranked in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason Top 20.

Check back to USALaxMagazine.com each weekday this month for new previews, scouting reports and rival analysis.

NO. 20 PENN

2021 Record: 1-0 (only able to play one game due to COVID-19)
Final Ranking (2021): Unranked
Coach: Karin Corbett (22nd season)

Penn put together a leadership council heading into this year. The new council is made up of prospective leaders from the senior, junior and sophomore classes, and it was designed to help offset possible shortcomings of the essentially two-year hiatus between meaningful games for the Quakers and the Ivy League.

“It’s really them understanding redoing what we’re going to stand for as a team, what our culture looks like,” Penn coach Karin Corbett said. “Last year was hard in that you needed to balance what they were going through and being empathetic and sympathetic to that, and to also uphold standards is a really hard thing to do. We have to recreate a culture. The fall wasn’t just teaching on the field. It was learning what it was like to run captain’s practices, and what it meant to put a team first and be in a leadership role.”

Ellen O’Callaghan is one of the seniors on the council. The standout defender played in Penn’s only game last year, a 16-11 win over crosstown foe LaSalle. Prior to that, the last time that O’Callaghan played she was matched against Loyola’s All-America attacker Livy Rosenzweig before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 season. It feels like she’s leapfrogged from then to her senior year.

“You go from being a comfortable sophomore with two [classes of players] above you that lead the way for you to leading,” O’Callaghan said. “We’ve always had a really good defense of stacked players who were coaching me and leading me. It was comfortable for me to step in there and just do my job and keep going. Now I’m in a position to teach and lead the rest of these younger defenders and get everyone going. That’s the new role I’ve taken — I’ve always had to do my job. Now I have to do my job and make sure everyone else is ready to step into theirs.”

NIKE/USAL PRESEASON TOP 20
TEAM PREVIEWS

1. Boston College

2. North Carolina

3. Syracuse

4. Northwestern

5. Stony Brook

6. Maryland

7. Notre Dame

8. Duke

9. Loyola

10. Florida

11. Virginia

12. James Madison

13. Princeton

14. Stanford

15. Denver

16. Rutgers

17. Drexel

18. Jacksonville

19. UConn

20. Penn

O’Callaghan is part of a Penn team that does not have much playing experience anywhere on the field. Izzy Rohr, the only other defender with significant experience, is out for the year with an ACL tear. The Quakers midfield is completely new. On attack, Taylyn Stadler, another senior member of the council, is the most experienced after starting as a freshman. Caitlin Cook, a junior, saw some time in five games as a freshman on attack, and Niki Miles had shown early promise two years ago. Goalies Krissy Kowalski and Kelly Van Hoesen split time at the start of 2020 and are locked in a battle for this year’s job, too. That’s the length of Penn’s game experience.

“Our senior class is the only grade that had played a full season until now, which is kind of crazy,” O’Callaghan said. “That was threatening or scary to know that we had three years with not a lot of experience. But we got to practice all last year, so sophomores and juniors were prepped about working hard.”

O’Callaghan is expected to lead at the defensive end. She will be taking charge with her words as well as her actions as she matches up with opposing team’s top offensive threat. Ensuring good leadership will have an impact on the success of Penn.

“They want to put the time in and want to put the team first,” Corbett said. “They’re going to do the right thing, and they’re going to be able to carry that to the team.”

On March 2, O’Callaghan and Rosenzweig will renew a matchup that has dated back to high school in New York. It’s easy for Penn to think about how long it has been since they’ve had those challenges in a full season, but O’Callaghan is pushing opportunity — not absence — in her increased role.

“I think the excitement and gratitude to actually play is outweighing that so much,” she said. “I’m excited to get out there and get my shot. We’ve put in a lot of work individually, too, to try to match up with these teams that had a full season last year. Hopefully, I’m at the level to match up with some of these top attackers. Nevertheless, it’ll be a fun challenge. I’m excited.”






z

TOP RETURNERS

Ellen O’Callaghan, D, Sr.

O’Callaghan is being counted on to make a big jump on and off the field. The top 1-on-1 defender for Penn as a sophomore returns with experience and talent.

Taylyn Stadler, A, Sr.

With hat tricks in three games, Stadler was starting to emerge as a star in her sophomore year when the season was cut short. She brings experience as the only freshman to start every game for Penn in 2019.

Kennon Moon, M, Jr.

Moon has developed into a dominant draw specialist under the tutelage of assistant Nicole Troost. She had nine draws in their only game last year and will have a significant impact this season.

KEY ADDITION

Sophie Davis, D, So.

Penn liked what it saw of the former high school midfielder after she moved to the defensive end. She will factor prominently as she gains more experience in her new spot.

BREAKOUT CANDIDATE

Niki Miles, A, Jr.

Miles took last year off and returned a stronger, more determined player with newfound confidence. “She wants to make an impact, and she wants to be a big player,” said Corbett.

ENEMY LINES

What rival coaches say about the Quakers:

“They had a lot of their kids back for some of last year, so they were able to do a lot of individuals and practice a little with their team. I hear they’re looking really good.”

“Always a sleeper team. They’re so incredibly well coached. They own their identity and brand of lacrosse. They’re so prepared going into any game. I think now that they’ve had last season away, their players will be that hungry and they’ll be dangerous.”

BEYOND THE BASICS
POWERED BY LACROSSE REFERENCE

7.8

Since the Ivy League has played so few games during the COVID years, it’s hard to get a good read on Penn. About the closest thing they’ve got to a known entity is goalie Krissy Kowalski. Across the 171 shots that she has faced in her career, Kowalski has saved 7.8 more shots than you would expect an average goalie to make. For her career, she’s a 91st percentile keeper, as measured by excess saves. — Zack Capozzi

Most Recent

Tara Singleton Named Jacksonville Women's Lacrosse Coach

Singleton spent the past 11 seasons under Janine Tucker at Johns Hopkins.

LIU Tabs Jordan Levine as Next Men's Lacrosse Coach

Levine guided Mercy to the Division II national championship game this spring.

Eric Wolf Named Head Men's Lacrosse Coach at NJIT

Wolf spent the last five seasons at LIU, overseeing the Sharks' transition to Division I.

Goalie Guru: Bill Pilat's 4 Keys to Developing Sound Netminders

The Roanoke coach and Goalie School founder has been doing this for 30 years. Listen up.







Twitter Posts