The Penn field hockey team felt the effects of playing with only 54 percent of their roster.
Because the team's eight freshmen were required to attend New Student Orientation activities, the Quakers were left with a sparse bench. As a result, Penn suffered both a 2-1 overtime loss to Monmouth Friday and a 4-1 loss to Virginia Commonwealth Sunday.
"Seventy minutes without substitutes is a lot of playing," Penn coach Val Cloud said. "They did a great job. They just ran out of steam because when you get exhausted out there, your mind doesn't work as well."
The Hawks' offense was dominant throughout most of the Friday game, taking 15 shots on goal and ten penalty corners. But it was not until the 54th minute that Monmouth midfielder Enza Mazza connected with a goal into the lower left corner.
Despite having only five shots on goal and one corner, the Quakers managed to send the game into overtime. With only 17 seconds left in regulation, senior Sarah Warner scored on a shot in the top left corner of the cage.
"We were happy to get into the overtime, but it didn't last that long," Cloud said.
Barely a minute had passed into the extra period when the Hawks (4-1) intercepted a Penn pass, creating a two-on-one situation for Mazza and forward Michelle Pieczynski. Pieczynski ended the game with a high flick over the head of Penn goalie Kieran Sweeney.
"That's what happens in overtime," Cloud said. "There is so much space to cover that, if the other team executes, which they did, [they] score."
The Quakers' offensive woes persisted two days later against VCU as their heavy legs once again could not get moving.
Penn was outshot by a margin of 14-9 and only had three corners, as opposed to the Rams' nine. Junior midfielder Marle von Dessel fueled VCU's offense with six shots on the cage, two of which found the back of the net.
"They had a couple key people on their team that showed up to play that day," Cloud said. "I'm not going to make excuses for [Penn], they just got outplayed."
Fortunately, relief is just around the corner for the shorthanded squad. In today's 3 p.m. game against St. Joseph's, the eight freshmen will finally make their long-awaited debut.
According to Cloud, freshman Sarah Hasson will start in the midfield, while several of her classmates will also see playing time.
Penn will focus on maintaining possession and drawing the corners in order to jump-start its offense, while simultaneously stopping St. Joe's from capitalizing on their own offensive corners.
"Defensively, our priority is not to give up corners," Cloud said. "We just can't give up corners and not get them."
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.