by Tom Utescher
Penn Charter graduated four multi-year varsity players from its 2014 field hockey team, and one of them, Sophie Eldridge, headed off to the NCAA Division I program at Northwestern University. Also gone is veteran goaltender Kennedy Kline.
There are just two seniors this time around, Bella Smith and Ellie Zimmering, but a number of younger players got varsity minutes last fall.
Leslie Goodman and Christina Vahey are back on the field for the Quakers as juniors this year, and although Kline was PC’s starter in goal last fall, current 11th-grader Janelle Sullivan also got a lot of experience between the pipes. Classmate Courtney Cubbin, a lacrosse maninstay for Charter, has decided to come out for field hockey this fall, while a fifth junior, Daisy Slawek, is transitioning from player to team manager.
The largest class on the team is a sophomore contingent consisting of Lily Carpenter, Bella Hondros, Catherine McInerney, Ava Nicolucci, Alina Sosa, and Taylor Wheeler-Yard.
One of the four freshmen who tried out has already proven herself capable of taking on a starting role for the varsity. Elisabeth Ross was a three-sport standout in the Penn Charter middle school, and was already playing the number two spot on the varsity squash team as an eighth-grader last winter. Her excellent eye-hand coordination is clearly a boon on the hockey field, as well.
The other ninth-graders in the mix are Bianca Bryant, Isabel Crawford, and Julia Lynch.
Melissa Grossman is back for her third season as the Quakers’ head coach, and she has an accomplished new assistant on the staff. Originally from South Africa, Karen Lancaster was a standout at Denison University, earning a place on the All-Decade Team in her conference.