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Goalkeeper Kieran Sweeney recorded five saves against Columbia as Penn’s defense performed admirably. But the offense was unable to get on the board in the loss.

The field hockey team had only lost to Columbia once in the last seven years entering last night’s matchup in New York.

However, a lack of offense led to a repeat of that single 2007 defeat, as the team fell, 2-0.

Coming off a huge 4-0 win against Brown, the Quakers (5-11, 2-4 Ivy) seemed to have momentum going into the Columbia contest.

The match in New York was Penn’s final road game of the season and the first time the two teams played at Columbia (8-8, 2-4) since the Quakers’ 2007 loss.

The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 18, but rain delays forced a rescheduling to Oct. 28.

Further bad weather caused the teams to reschedule yet again for last night. And after two weeks of anticipation, the teams finally met.

Before the originally scheduled match, the Quakers had just lost to University City rival Drexel at home, 4-1. Due to the rescheduling, Penn had the opportunity to trounce Brown, bouncing back from its loss to Drexel (as well as a loss to Yale).

Unfortunately for Penn, that new-found confidence did not translate into a win.

The Quakers knew they had to contain Columbia’s offensive standouts, junior midfielder Julia Garrison and senior forward Christine Buszczak. The two had scored a combined eight goals entering the match.

Despite the extra attention Penn’s defense placed on the two scoring threats, Columbia took the lead off a Garrison penalty corner goal within the first two minutes of play.

The Quakers answered with a solid defensive stretch, highlighted by the goalkeeping of sophomore Kieran Sweeney.

The Red and Blue, however, could not produce offensively, getting only one shot off in the first period.

Penn came out in the second period with yet another great defensive stretch. For 12 minutes, the Quakers held Columbia shotless.

But the defense eventually cracked and committed a foul inside the circle, allowing the Lions to answer with another Garrison goal off a penalty corner.

Penn played well defensively, as Sweeney recorded five saves (her season-high is 13).

In the end, it was the lack of production in the offensive front that doomed the Quakers.

Penn did not convert any of its four penalty corners while the Lions converted twice on the same number of penalties.

Columbia also had a better shot advantage, outshooting the Quakers 9-5.

With the loss, Penn must recapture some of the momentum of its 4-0 victory over Brown. The Quakers face the Ivy League best No. 4 Princeton Tigers (13-2, 6-0) at home Friday in the teams’ last game of the season.

Princeton comes off a strong season and has already clinched the conference title.

On a bit of a slump, the Quakers need to find some offensive firepower quickly if they hope to upset their New Jersey rival in two days.

Penn coach Val Cloud and assistant coach Meg McGuin could not be reached for comment.

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