Vol. LXII, No. 17
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
(Photo Courtesy of Penn’s Office of Athletic Communications)
HOMECOMING DANCE: Penn women’s lacrosse senior midfielder Tarah Kirnan, right, harasses a foe in action earlier this season. Last Wednesday, Kirnan, a former Hun School star, made her last game at Princeton special as she helped Penn to a 9-5 win over the Tigers.
During her days as a star for the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team, Tarah Kirnan enjoyed the program’s annual clash with Princeton Day School at Princeton University’s Class of 1952 Stadium.
After her stellar career at Hun, Kirnan moved on to the University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team in 2004 where she has emerged as a key defensive midfielder for the Quakers.
Last Wednesday night, senior standout Kirnan made her final appearance at Class of ’52 Stadium as the No. 6 Quakers dueled the second-ranked and undefeated Princeton University women’s team.
Helping to key a stingy Penn defense, Kirnan made her last appearance at the stadium one to remember as Penn upended Princeton 9-5.
A beaming Kirnan made it clear that her final game on the Princeton turf was her best.
“I was thinking this morning that this is my eighth year playing on this field,” said Kirnan, who stood on the Penn bench in the raucous post-game celebration as she enjoyed the moment with the contingent of locals on hand to root her on.
“I couldn’t ask for a better way for my last game here. This is amazing. I’m really excited to be with so many friends and family.”
Kirnan was excited to help Penn earn its first win at Princeton since 1986. “It’s so extra special because it’s just such a great rivalry,” said Kirnan, who helped the Quakers beat Brown 12-5 last Saturday as Penn improved to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the Ivy League, clinching the league’s title outright in the process.
“You look forward to the game all year. You want to beat them so badly. It’s such a great program, you know when you do beat them, you deserve it.”
Penn was a deserving victor as its stingy defense held high-powered Princeton to just one goal over the first 44:01 of the game.
“We were definitely concentrating on trying to play team defense,” said Kirnan.
“We were trying to force them inside and not give them too many one-on-one challenges because they are so strong on attack. We really looked to double them early. Bringing the ball up was huge tonight; we didn’t have too many turnovers bringing the ball up from the defensive end.”
It was a huge win for the Penn seniors who have helped make the program into a national power. “Our whole senior class loves this team,” asserted Kirnan.
“We live for practice. We live together; we work together; we play together. We are just so glad we could do it our senior year; it really means a lot to us.”
After falling to eventual champion Northwestern in the NCAA Final Four last spring, Kirnan and her classmates are looking to end things on the ultimate high note.
“We want to go all the way this year,” said Kirnan. “We don’t get too much respect from the polls. The same thing happened last year when we were the underdog all of the time. It kind of gives you a little extra oomph when you are out there. No one believes in us, we believe in ourselves so that’s enough for us.”
A self belief that helped create an unforgettable homecoming for Kirnan.
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