By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/21/09
“I was shocked,” she said. “It was very nice. It didn’t hit me until they gave me this big plaque.”
Poplawski, a Haverford High graduate who now is an assistant lacrosse coach at powerhouse Springfield-Delco, was honored for her success as a lacrosse goalie before the Owls’ home football game against Army at Lincoln Financial Field.
She was inducted with baseball star Les Roos and men’s gymnastics champion Jim Van de Zilver and the men’s soccer team from the early 1950s.
Poplawski earned Brine/WCLA All-America honors in lacrosse three times during her brilliant Temple career. She was named to the first team in 1985 and 1987, and garnered honorable mention accolades in 1986 as she posted a brilliant mark of 64-7 as a starter.
The highlight was helping the Owls win the 1984 National title. The team featured mostly Philly recruits under the direction of famed Temple coaches Tina Sloan Green (head coach) and Sue Stahl (assistant).
Sloan Green and Stahl were not able to attend the event, but Poplawski was joined by her parents and several other family members.
“I remember winning in ‘84, and thinking we’d be back here again,” she said. “They told me to cherish the moment; I wish I did. I was only 18 when we won and we did get back, but we lost another year in the semis and once in the quarterfinals.”
Poplawski has many strong ties to Temple. She met her husband – basketball player Mark Poplawski – at Temple and has coached for many years at Springfield-Delco with Kathleen (Barrett) Geiger, a member of the ’84 title team.
Also on the ’84 were, among others, current Cabrini coach Jackie (Devenney) Neary, current Hatboro-Horsham coach Marie Schmucker and current Ohio State coach Sue Stimmel (Boyertown grad).
“We were all pretty much local,” said Poplawski. “Sue Stahl collected a bunch of players from the Philadelphia area. Then my sophomore year they brought in players like Gail Cummings from Canada and Mandy Moore (O’Leary, now the head coach at Florida).
“Occasionally, I touch base with them. It’s nice to have a great network of people you played with.”
Poplawski still owns the Temple career record for goals against average (4.87) and is second in save percentage (.688). A member of the USA World Cup teram from 1985-90, she helped the squad win the gold medal in 1989 in perth, Australia.
She also was a three-year member of the Owls field hockey team.
“Being on the World Cup team got me to see the world,” she said. “Lacrosse was the door for me to go and experience the world.”
Poplawski also took her education at Temple past the sports fields. She has taught 22 years in public schools and has taught art the past 18 years in the Lower Merion School District.