Powder Puff Returns to Lehigh!
The Big Comeback!
Powder Puff returns to the Intramural Program!
Celebrating 40 years of Women!
Visit the Hawks Nest in Lamberton Hall and you will see numerous items hanging on the walls that reveal a Lehigh that is rich in Tradition, History and Pride. As you begin the tour, you will see a bike frame and jersey from our competitive cycling club, Intramural T-shirts from the Turkey Trot and other IM select sports, ice hockey club sticks, t-shirts that represent the numerous student organizations on campus and photo spreads ranging from sport teams to the bed races of 1980. The Hawks Nest is a place where one can visit and relive through photos a handful of traditional activities that brought together the campus community and enriched the lives of our students.
As one gazes among the treasures, looming over an exit door, next to a slice of wooden goal post, hangs a true piece of history, it signifies a major change to Lehigh University as it was known for 106 years as an all –male institution, a Brown Powder Puff T-shirt ……worn by our very own Director of Club Sports, Barb Turanchik 75’ who entered the gates in the first undergraduate class of women….in 1971.
Powder Puff Football emerged on the gridiron scene in 1971, pitting the ladies of Lehigh against the coeds from Lafayette. Researching this historic event we find that this contest was played for nine consecutive years followed by one game in 1981 and one game in1984. Unfortunately, Lehigh was not to be the victor in all of the games but a 5-6 record doesn’t preclude the drive and determination of these coeds! They didn’t play just for the fun; it was about the competition and the pride of winning for your school! The contests would be played at alternating sites with the very first game in 1971taking place in Taylor Stadium, on a cold November day in front of 1000 spectators. Led by Captain Michele Stoudt’75 and co- captain Missy Muendel’73, the team practiced a week prior to the game but couldn’t match the play of Lafayette’s running back and fell to a 30-0 crushing loss.
1972 - In spite of training and practicing for over 6 weeks the team didn’t quite hit the mark either. A steady sleet and rain fell in Fisher Field on that cold November day and the ladies of Lehigh suffered their second setback in two years and losing 28-14.
1973 - "Big Win" adorned the Brown and White as the coeds brought home their first W against the Leopards with a 20-14 win. Lehigh scored on a 52 yard kickoff return by freshmen Mindy Fener ‘77 followed by a 2 point conversion pass play from QB Pam Watson ’76 to Sue Sachs’77. In the second half, Pam Watson, and freshmen Sue Sachs would connect twice for what would be the final nail in the coffin. A 10 yard sprint with 7 minutes left in the game with Lehigh leading 8-6 and a second TD coming with 5 minutes later in a six yard dash to the end zone. Sue Sachs would earn game ball honors….
1974 - Lehigh would pummel the Leopards by a lopsided score of 46-0. Pam Watson led the air attack along with the terrific play of Lori Collman’78 who together connected for 5 scoring drives. The defense led by Helen Richardson’77 Kathy Liss’75 and Holly VanWiemokly ’75 frustrated the Lafayette players and shut the door on any hope they had of scoring…
For reasons unknown, Lehigh would go on to lose in 1975, 76, and 1977 despite the valiant efforts of a strong returning roster.
1978 - Lehigh shines as a ray of hope as the Powder Puffers triumphed over the Leopards by a score of 20-0. Quarterback Anastasia Yuelys’81 would lead the pack as she threw one touchdown and ran for another. Linebacker and Captain Doris Campbell intercepted a Lafayette pass in the 3rd quarter to set up the insurance score by returning the ball to the Lafayette 6 yard line. Running back Jo-Anne "Franco Harris" dashed off right tackle and into the end zone to secure the win!
1979- Lehigh’s inexperience was shown early in the game when Lafayette took advantage and beat the Puffers on long passes to take a 27-0 halftime lead. However, the ladies never gave up as a 45 yard pass from Patti Leutz to Sue Yee’82 gave the Engineers a glimmer of hope! The "D" of Terri Rauch, Jan Jordon and Sue Ellen McCLain came together to stop the Pards to put the offense in good field position. In the 3rd quarter, Luetz darted 40 yards to the Lafayette 10 yard line but Lehigh could not punch it in. Felicia Sherbert threw a bullet to wide receiver Sandy Bachmann for Lehigh’s last score of the game but the Leopards experience was just too much for the Engineers, resulting in a 12- 48 Lehigh loss.
1981 – Lehigh found their "legs" tallying close to 300 yards on the ground behind the offensive line ability to push back the Leopards. Senior halfbacks Judy Weir and Renie Eustace busted up the middles and scored 2 touchdowns each on Lehigh’s rout of Lafayette 34-12. The ladies were temporality behind in the first but Weir flew up the field running 70 yard for the first score of the game. Eustance then shot up the middle for a short gallop into the end zone putting Lehigh in the driver’s seat 12-6 by halftime. The second half proved to be too much for the Leopards to overcome. Weir exploded for another long gainer, running 65 yards to the house! But Lehigh had one more trick play that would kick the Leopards to the curb. Quarterback Felicia Sherbert handed the pigskin off to Weir, who dished it to Sue Ellen McClain coming off the split end position. The reverse baffled their opponents and ended in another score to cap off the victory!!
1984 would be the last game played between the schools. Lehigh would have the last laugh by winning 19-14 in an exciting battle of the rivals. On the first play of the game, sophomore running back Nancy Stoll took the leather 70 yards for a Lehigh touchdown, followed by a 15 yard pass from 4 year starter qb Rachel Turoscy to Kiki Dolan. The first half would end with a 13-8 Lehigh lead but Lafayette would not go quietly but that didn’t stop Turoscy and her gang. She threw a 40 yarder for the last score for Lehigh. Lafayette would answer with a 3 yard touchdown run of the own but it wasn’t enough as time ran out. Lehigh would take the final game by winning score of 19-14…
The world of Powder Puff ended in 1984 although some have tried to revive it to the fame and glory days. Rita The Women’s Center tried in the spring of 2010 with some success and Pi Beta Phi took the reins in the spring of 2011 but never got it quite off the ground –It is now 40 years later as we celebrate those gridiron pioneers and Intramurals will again take the lead as they had from the beginning - by renaming our 7 on 7 Flag Football to Fall 2011 Powder Puff to honor those women who blazed the fields before us. The tournament will be played within the walls of the University in a Round Robin Format. Through the financial generosity of the women that played during the 70’s, each team entered will receive a determined number of a special edition t-shirt for their players. This shirt will be retired /never be given out again and will go down in Intramural history to salute those that have worn "the shirt". On behalf of Lehigh Intramurals and the ladies of Lehigh, we thank those that have graced the fields before us and for all that you have done to set the standards to be competitive, play fair and most of all have FUN!