If there is one thing that is working in the Penn field hockey team’s favor this year, it’s the weather.
Due to two favorable cancellations as a result of inclement weather, the Quakers will matchup with Columbia (7-8, 1-4 Ivy) today at 5 p.m. following one of their biggest wins of the season — a 4-0 drubbing of Brown.
“I think it’s a great confidence booster to have a big win going into Columbia,” senior Katie Burke said.
The first time the teams were set to play, Penn (5-10, 2-3) had just succmbed to University City rival Drexel in a rough 4-1 loss.
In the contest, Penn’s sole goal came off of a penalty stroke by co-captain Kelsey Tahan. But besides entering the game to take the penalty stroke, the senior was relegated to the sidelines because of a strained hamstring.
Now the team has the benefit of a healthy Tahan, who registered nine shots — five on goal and one score — in the victory over the Bears.
The second time the teams were set to play, Penn had suffered another heartbreaker in its previous showing. With the Quakers leading 2-0 with less than 15 minutes left, Yale was able to score two quick goals and force the game to overtime. Three minutes later, the Bulldogs scored a goal on a corner, and the Quakers lost 3-2.
Now, Penn is coming off one of its best games this season. The Red and Blue proved that they could compete in the Ivy League and defeated Brown 4-0 Saturday. Giving the Bears no chance, the Quakers outshot them 28-6.
“It’s all progression,” assistant coach Megan McGuin said. “Coming from a win [Saturday] is better than coming off a loss two weeks ago, so I think it’s beneficial for us if we go in with some momentum.”
Columbia, on the other hand, is not so lucky, as they lost 2-1 to Yale Sunday. The Lions had the initial lead, but Yale responded with one goal in regulation and one with less than 45 seconds left in overtime.
Only one game away from .500 in the Ivy League, today’s contest will be an essential game for Penn, and the team will seek to capitalize on the positive momentum.
The last time the two teams played, the Quakers won 3-1. And over the past four seasons, Columbia has only beaten Penn once, in the 2007 season when the Lions won 1-0 in overtime.
Led offensively this year by Julia Garrison and Christine Buszczak — who have combined for seven goals — the Lions’ attack will present a significant test for Burke and the rest of Penn’s defensive unit. Following her most productive offensive game this season, Burke also leads the Quakers defensively with four saves.
Tahan and sophomore Laurel McGarvie, who lead Penn in scoring with six goals apiece, hope to get the Quakers on the board early.
“We’re just looking to finish, and get on the floor as soon as we can” McGuin said.
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