Coach Karen Borbee picks up 200th Career Victory
The Swarthmore women’s lacrosse team put an abrupt halt to their three game Centennial Conference losing streak by picking up two key victories last week on their home turf at Clothier Field. Swarthmore’s victories give the team a 4-3 Centennial Conference record, putting the squad in the thick of the playoff hunt. The team sits in fifth place with remaining games at Washington College and then home against rival Haverford on Saturday.
In addition to its importance for the team’s playoff hopes, Swarthmore’s 13-10 victory over Dickinson on Saturday gave Head Coach Karen Borbee her 200th Career victory in her 20th season as head coach. The reigning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year recognized the gravity of the moment, saying that, “It’s an honor to have coached here long enough to have the opportunity to reach this milestone. I am hoping to continue to add to the total.”
Borbee’s players were happy to share in the joy of helping their coach reach such an impressive landmark. Defender Caroline Murphy ’14 called the win “incredible”, adding that, “Karen has been such an amazing coach and our team has really improved over the last few years. I’m really happy that we could be the team to reach this milestone with her.” Goalkeeper Michelle Ammerman ’14 echoed Murphy, saying that, “[Borbee] has given so much of her time and energy to the program that it feels nice to give something back.” For forward Annalise Penikis ’13, a Swarthmore native, the game had added significance, as the star forward explained: “I’ve known Karen since I was little and she taught me how to play lacrosse at all of the team’s lacrosse camps and clinics, so it was extra meaningful that I got to be a part of it.”
Penikis dominated against Dickinson, picking up points on nine of the Garnet’s thirteen goals in a matchup of two teams on the periphery of the playoff picture. Penikis overcame consistent double-teams to tally four goals and five assists. Corinne Sommi ’14 added a hat trick of her own, as well as one assist, while Lizzie Kolln ’16 and Nicole Vanchieri had two points apiece. Swarthmore led comfortably for most of the game, stopping a late Dickinson rally with a goal from Lucy Whitacre ’14 with just over two minutes remaining.
Penikis credited an improved defense with the team’s recent wins, saying that, “I think our defense has really stepped up. All over the field, everyone has been working really hard and I think everyone has the confidence and motivation to win.” Ammerman, with eight saves, and Emma Sipperly ’14, with four ground balls, led the Garnet defense against the Red Devils. Murphy added that the team has executed better and reduced its turnovers: “In the last two games, I think things have started to come together for us and we are making less of those [unforced] errors.”
The victory over Dickinson followed up a 16-10 victory over Muhlenberg. Swarthmore won the game with a balanced offensive attack that featured six players scoring multiple goals. Penikis led Swarthmore with three goals, while Sommi, Sipperly, Kolln, Whitacre and Julia Denny ’15 added two goals apiece. Murphy led Swarthmore’s defense, causing four turnovers and picking up two ground balls, while Ammerman made seven saves in a strong encore performance after being named Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Borbee credited the team’s recent success in part to their strong performance in a 14-9 loss to 6th ranked Franklin and Marshall the week before, saying that, “We played with a great deal of poise against F&M and that gave us a lot of confidence going into the Muhlenberg and Dickinson games.”
Penikis’ impressive week earned her the honor of Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Her 15 point week gave her a Conference-leading 79 points on the season. Penikis, along with fellow seniors Vanchieri, Catie Meador and Beth Martin, will be honored on Senior Day on Saturday, in a game scheduled for 1pm at Clothier Field. Borbee lauded her senior class, saying, “I’m really proud of the leadership of our senior class as well as their play on the field. Our team was ranked in the 80s [in the laxpower.com computer rankings] when they first joined the program and now we are ranked #30. If the Garnet can win its final two games, they figure to crack the national top 25. More importantly, they will punch their ticket to the Centennial Conference playoffs for a second consecutive year.