With wonderful chemistry, talent and talent, Penn’s 1988 discipline hockey group have become the maximum a hit area hockey crew in Penn records.
After a down season in 1987, wherein this system went 7-8-1 overall, the 1988 crew rebounded with a season that would be in the Penn report books for many years and cement them because the exceptional all-time area hockey team. Penn’s group might cease their season with a 14-three-1 document, which nonetheless stands because the most wins in a single season in software records.
The Quakers’ 5-1 Ivy League document earned them a percentage of the Ivy League title with Dartmouth. No. 4 inside the nation, their Ivy League name assured them an NCAA Tournament berth. The crew made it to the semifinals, the furthest match run in software history. This event look became specially special because the semifinals and final turned into hosted at Franklin Field.
“We had been also wonderful excited due to the fact it’s miles your property area, you do have your house locker room, you’re used to everything in Franklin Field, and it’s your property base as a ways as fans are concerned,” said Donna Mulhern Woodruff C’90, a junior at the 1988 crew.
After a first-round bye and with the comforts of a domestic-discipline gain, the Quakers confronted their in-nation rival Penn State in the 2d round of the tournament. After three beyond regular time durations, the Red and Blue defeated Penn State by way of a score of 2-1. While this matchup became a major event for the Philadelphia media, it changed into also special for the group. Many of Penn’s gamers were from Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, so they had buddies and excessive college teammates on the Penn State crew.
“We did pretty properly in opposition to Penn State, and I assume they were a little aggravated through that,” Woodruff laughed. “It’s constantly incredible if you have a very good contention, going backward and forward, to pop out at the triumphing give up. I understand they weren’t too thrilled with us.”
In 1988, Woodruff become considered one of six Penn players named to the first team All-Ivy. Six players is tied for the most in a unmarried season to make first group All-Ivy in application records. Among the six was senior Nicky Hitchens, who become venerated as one of the Ivy League Players of the Year. Woodruff was also named to the 1988 All-Tournament crew.
The Quakers in reality had the talent that season to take them to the next level, however the major aspect that made this group a success turned into their chemistry. They were greater than just teammates; they were a own family. The group had a big institution of juniors, who have been able to develop together as gamers for two years earlier than the 1988 season. That organization was highlighted via Woodruff, Ellen Vagelos Masseur, and Carrie Vesley Horrigan.
The crew also spent a lot of time together in the summer season earlier than the 1988 season on a crew experience to Holland. The week-lengthy journey allowed the team to play towards extraordinary opposition, however more importantly, it really added the crew together.
“It became just a lot of really excellent humans that every one preferred the possibility we had at an Ivy League institution, but also we wanted to be very good in the game we were playing,” Woodruff stated.
While it is greater of a rarity now, many gamers at the crew played each field hockey and lacrosse at Penn, together with Woodruff, Hitchens, and Horrigan. This yr, simplest freshman Madison Jiranek plays on each groups. This supposed that many of the players competed collectively 12 months-round, permitting the crew to grow nearer.
“It can’t hurt that you’re with the identical people, equal awareness, equal schedules for that quantity of time, and surely getting to know our coaches,” Woodruff stated.
The late Anne Sage became the longtime coach of each the field hockey and ladies’s lacrosse groups. In 1988, Sage changed into commemorated by way of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association as Coach of the Year. While she turned into an exceedingly proficient train with a top notch thoughts for the sport of area hockey, her presence became felt strongly in the athletics program as a whole.
“The stunning factor is that Sage was simply herself, and she allow anyone around her be themselves,” Woodruff said. “She virtually delivered out the satisfactory in each people with out making us all be the identical. That turned into sincerely her energy, she believed in our groups, but she also believed in women’s athletics.”
The first-class teams are those that have not handiest athletic capabilities, but a high-quality connection between their players. Penn’s 1988 discipline hockey group combined them each to have the exceptional season in software records.