Penn Charter field hockey co-captains Anna Wills (left) and Molly Pighini. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Penn Charter lost five seniors from its 2011 field hockey squad, but the Quakers have a good number of talented and experienced players returning as they look to improve on a fourth-place finish in the Girls Inter-Ac League last fall. Charter has a total of eight seniors and juniors back in uniform, and the strong sophomore class is definitely ready for prime time this autumn.

Among the team’s recent graduates was starting goalie Liz Cahn, and right now the leading candidates to step into the cage are Kennedy Kline and Emily Ominsky, both sophomores.

Fortunately, the young keepers will have an experienced defense in front of them, starting with sweep Molly Mornhinweg and fellow senior Anna Wills, the center back. Wills has already committed to play at Bucknell University, where her older sister, Liz, started every game for the Bison bunch as a freshman last fall.

In PC’s first scrimmage of the 2012 preseason, the other starting backs were senior Allison Rogers and sophomore Sophie Eldridge.

Senior center midfielder Molly Pighini (team co-captain along with Wills) was flanked by senior Claudia Stedman and sophomore Tara Murphy. The blend of experience and young talent carries through to the forward line, where seniors Katy Decker and Katherine O’Donnell are joined by sophomore Avery Shoemaker.

Another 10th-grader who played with the varsity last year, Grace Harbison, is also a forward, and lending depth to the defensive unit are junior Gabrielle Bembry and sophomores Dolly Segal and Layne Wolfington. A promising junior athlete, Lauren Matt, is out for the season with an injury, but she’ll make a highly competent manager for the squad.

Last fall, former Middlebury College hockey and lacrosse star Channing Weymouth arrived at Penn Charter as a humble assistant field hockey coach, but she quickly became the go-to woman around the athletic department. She took the reins of the varsity lacrosse team last spring, and she is now PC’s Associate Director of Athletics for Girls and the head coach for field hockey.

After graduating from Middlebury in 2006, Weymouth was an assistant coach both at her alma mater and at Connecticut College.

Two 2012 college graduates are assistant coaches for the Quakers this season. PC’s own Becca Foley (’08) has just emerged from Franklin & Marshall College. Her father, Ed, is an athletic administrator at Penn Charter and her brother Ted is a multi-sport athlete who is starting his senior year at the school. The other assistant, Therese Doyle, recently completed her career at St. Joseph’s University, and is a product of Merion Mercy Academy.

Jenn Milano, currently a student at Philadelphia University just down the street, will also help out the Quakers.

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