Less than a year after Abby Bosco heard her junior season was canceled, she realized she’d have no legitimate senior season either.
Immediately after she got off an Ivy League-wide call learning of the heavy restrictions on scheduling in January 2021 that’d prohibit a true season, she reached out to her coach at Penn, Karin Corbett.
There wasn’t much of a choice.
Bosco planned to hang up the cleats had 2020 been the lone missed season. She was originally optimistic that Penn would have a full 2021 season, which she expected to be her last.
Bosco decided she wasn’t ready to end her collegiate career after just two full seasons after spending her whole life working to play college lacrosse. Ivy League athletics were strictly limited to undergrad students at the time.
She had her senior day in Penn’s only game of 2021 — a win in her farewell from Franklin Field. But at the same time, no spectators were allowed. Not even her mom could attend. Though a weird way to finish out her time at Penn, it was just the ending of a chapter, not a book.
Her next chapter would be at Maryland.
Now, the Terps will travel to Penn for Bosco’s homecoming Wednesday. After nearly two years away, the color of her jersey is far from the only change.
“I got the chills a little,” Bosco said. “I’m very excited. It’s definitely going to be a weird feeling playing at Franklin Field on the visitor side and the visiting locker room — I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it or been in it.”
In the six games Penn played (five in 2020, one in 2021) in its two pandemic-affected seasons, Bosco showed flashes of what was to come at Maryland, where she has won Big Ten defender of the year and garnered first-team All-American honors last season.
But those six games were the first of Bosco’s collegiate career where she had officially become a defender.
As seniors graduated, there were holes in the Quaker’s defense lineup after the 2019 season. Bosco, having been more productive on the defensive half of the field, was called on to make the switch to defense to fill out Penn’s lineup.
She handled the transition to defense with ease. She’d do the same with her eventual transfer to the Terps, despite being unfamiliar with the program.
Going into it, she didn’t know anyone who had played for the Terps. She said she hadn’t seen any of Maryland’s campus, though she did play one game in College Park with Penn in 2019.
Still, just as quickly as she called Corbett after the Ivy League’s spring 2021 decision, Bosco — a self-proclaimed slow decision maker — knew she found her next home after just one zoom call with Maryland’s coaching staff.
“I remember literally hanging up the Zoom call and calling my mom right away and being like ‘yep, I made my decision,’ — there’s no chance I’m missing out on this opportunity,” Bosco said.
Reese viewed it as quite the opportunity herself.
“As soon as I could call her up … it was like, let’s get you here, you fit with our style of play, you’re fast, you are perfect for what Maryland is all about,” Reese said. “We knew that we had open spaces there [and] that she was gonna be able to help us.”
Bosco led the Terps with 63 ground balls with 63 and 26 caused turnovers last season. Her 89 draw controls were the team’s second-best. She leads the Terps in ground balls and caused turnovers again this season and is second in draw controls once again.
“You watch our game and Abby’s all over the place, every ground ball is Abby’s,” Reese said. “It’s like the balls on the ground, ‘here comes Abby,’ and there’s a draw control, ‘here comes Abby,’ and so I think her energy is contagious. She’s somebody that will leave it all on the field and the people around her are better because of it.”
On top of the success on the field, Bosco’s impact on the locker room was made clear early on too. Bosco roomed with captains Grace Griffin and Torie Barretta last season, who she said “became best friends immediately.”
Barretta, who was also a defender, suffered a season-ending ACL injury after just ten games last year. That prompted Reese and the staff to name Bosco a captain, taking on Barretta’s leadership duties.
“When Abby got to Maryland it was like an instant click. She fit in perfect with the team, she stepped up as a leader, and she’s just an awesome friend and person,” junior Chrissy Thomas said. “Coming in and stepping in into a leadership role here was a really easy, seamless transition.”
Bosco moved to Maryland after two seasons and four years at Penn. Although two of them were throttled by the pandemic, the results of everything that unfolded couldn’t have worked out much better for Bosco.
The last time Bosco walked off of Franklin Field after Penn’s first and last game of 2021 with empty stands, it might’ve felt like her last time suiting up in Philadelphia. But as the two places she’s called home over the last six years will battle it out on Wednesday, Bosco has a chance to make one more memory at Franklin Field, this time with her mom in the stands.
“The past two years here have been so surreal, and bigger and better than anything I could have ever imagined. And also though, my four years at Penn were amazing,” Bosco said. “I consider myself extremely lucky that I got to have these two super unique experiences that I just look back and smile at.”