Practice makes perfect — or at least it did for the Penn field hockey team this weekend.
In order to sharpen its defensive play for Saturday’s matchup against Ivy League rival Harvard, coach Val Cloud ran a drill in which every foul caused by the defense in the circle resulted in a 100-yard sprint after practice.
“It basically just made us buckle down on ourselves to make sure we weren’t causing tons of fouls,” freshman midfielder Sarah Hasson said. “We were just trying a lot harder in the circle.”
The emphasis on eliminating penalties certainly paid off as the Quakers (3-5, 1-1 Ivy) notched their first Ivy win of the season, topping the Crimson (3-3, 0-2) 4-1 in Boston.
“We got the one, we just got to keep going,” Cloud said of her team’s first League win. “We just have to work harder now to get each and every one.”
But after the first half of play, it seemed that the Quakers would have to wait a little longer for their first Ivy win.They entered halftime down 1-0 after Harvard’s Allie Kimmel scored her second goal of the season on an assist from freshman Emma Keller in the 27th minute.
“In the halftime talk,” Hasson said, “we really pumped each other up and made sure that we were going all out and really trying our best because we didn’t want to give up our Ivy season.”
And halftime brought a change in strategy, as well.
Cloud kept the same players in the game, but made some changes to their positions. Sophomore Kirstin Snyder, junior Laurel McGarvie, senior Katie Moran and junior Annie Matthews all found themselves in new places on the field.
Perhaps the most significant of these changes, however, was the decision to move senior back Sarah Warner to midfield.
“We thought [Warner] could spur us on with good activity in there ‘cause she’s a good passer when she gets the ball,” Cloud said. “And she’s a good defender, preventing them from getting the ball.”
Hasson also acted as a spark in the second half, scoring back-to-back goals.
“It was the first few minutes of the second half that we turned it on,” Hasson said. “We created a lot more opportunities on offense and really posed a threat in a circle.”
Hasson’s first goal came from a cross from Matthews on the left side of the field. Stationed at the right goalpost, Hasson deflected the ball past Harvard’s goalkeeper to even the score.
The Warrington, Pa., native scored a second goal after she settled a cross from senior Katie Rose and found the cage with her reverse stick.
“It was like Penn can play,” Cloud said. “It was good to see them do it finally.”
Two more goals were added by McGarvie and senior midfielder Kelsey Tahan later in the half to put the Quakers up 4-1.
The defense, utilizing the skills they worked on in practice, shut the Crimson out in the second half.
On both sides of the ball, Cloud was pleased with her squad’s promising performance.
“Hopefully we can take this forward now that they know what it’s like to play together and win,” Cloud said.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.