PHILADELPHIA – When the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s lacrosse team squared off with Loyola University in the fifth game of the year, Gabby Rosenzweig, a 2016 Somers High School graduate, wasn’t expecting it to be the final game of her senior season.
But she did get to share the moment with someone special. Her younger sister, Livy, a 2017 Somers grad, was on the other side of the field in a Loyola uniform.
Not long after the game on Saturday, March 7, the NCAA canceled the remainder of the season and all collegiate spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I found out the season ended it was completely devastating,” Gabby said. “I felt like I was honestly in a dream. My whole team came together and cried. It felt like someone died. So many thoughts went through my head and it seemed impossible that we would put so much into something for it to just be stopped short like that. Obviously, a few days later it was clear that the issue was bigger than a sports season or career, but it doesn’t minimize what we or all seniors across the country felt.”
Livy, a junior at Loyola, said her initial reaction was “heartbreak” when she found out that the rest of the season was canceled, especially after the Greyhounds started off 5-0 and were ranked No. 3 in the nation.
“It was really hard because I felt like our Loyola team was really special this year,” Livy said. “It’s so tough having a start to a season like that and then have it all taken away from you. In the beginning, it was very frustrating because we didn’t really know the extent of the virus so it felt like it was just the Patriot League making this decision. It was easier to swallow when we realized the magnitude of COVID and when the NCAA canceled everything.”
Loyola and Livy got the best of Gabby and UPenn in a 19-15 win for the Greyhounds on Saturday, March 7. Gabby netted a team-high 4 goals and had 1 assist for the Quakers. Livy tallied 2 goals, 2 assists and 6 draw controls.
“It’s really crazy that both of our last games of the season ended with us playing each other,” Livy said. “It made it obvious that the world works in mysterious ways. For both of our seasons to be canceled three days after playing each other is crazy. It was such a special experience with tons of friends and family that I love. I will never forget it.”
The sisters had a large contingent of family and friends attending the game, including their mom Peggy, father Niall and brother Nate, who is a junior at Somers.
“We are so lucky that we got to have a celebration of our careers like that,” Gabby said. “There were so many family and friends who were there for us and I truly felt so loved and grateful for the experience I’ve had at Penn and the people who have supported our whole family throughout our entire journey as athletes.”
While it was only a five-game season, awards were still given out. Livy was named a first-team All-American while Gabby received All-American honorable mention. Livy finished the short season with 10 goals and 17 assists. She’s tallied at least 4 points in 16 straight games dating back to the 2019 season. Gabby accumulated 11 goals and 11 assists in the shortened season.
“It’s really special to be named All-American again,” Gabby said. “It’s hard to choose All-Americans from such a small portion of the season so it’s great that they felt my five short games were worth All-American status.”
The NCAA Division 1 Council approved an eligibility waiver after the cancelation of the season due to COVID-19. This allows Gabby to return for a fifth year if she chooses to do so. The Ivy League, however, doesn’t allow graduate students to compete in athletics, so it might have to be at a different school unless they change their stance.
Gabby is Penn’s all-time points leader with 247 and also owns the single-season points record with 98. She has 121 career goals, which leaves her sixth on the all-time list for the Quakers. The senior was also just 2 assists away from breaking the school’s all-time assists record and ended up with 126.
When asked to pinpoint one or two of her favorite moments over her career, Gabby couldn’t pick just one.
“There are so many different games and competitions that of course stand out, but not one in particular,” she said. “Game days are my favorite days. I just love competing and there truly is nothing quite like competing at this level, representing a program and university you feel so much pride for and putting everything you have on the field. A warm tailgate where you celebrate a win and spend time with your family after leaving all emotions and energy out there is just one of the best things ever. At the same time though the best part of college lacrosse is the relationships you build with your teammates on the days that no one is watching. The hardest runs and lifts, toughest practices, meetings and celebrations of each other’s successes lead to incredible bonds that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Livy said that her favorite career moments have been winning a Patriot League title last year along with defeating the University of Florida this season on the road by a lopsided margin of 17-6 on Feb. 22. Livy tallied 3 goals and 3 assists in the win.
“Loyola has never done that before and to be the team that finally does it was so exciting,” Livy said. “Not to mention the manner in which we beat them was pretty fun too.”
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