Although the Penn field hockey team has made several changes for the start of the season, none seem to be translating in the record book.
With Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Cornell (4-1, 1-0 Ivy), the Quakers dropped their fourth consecutive Ivy League opener and have just one win over four games.
“Cornell did have a lot more scoring opportunities,” said first-year coach Colleen Quinn Fink. “I think that they took advantage of their scoring opportunities.”
In the first minutes of play, however, the two teams appeared to be evenly matched. Penn’s defense kept Cornell — who tied for third in the Ancient Eight last season — off the board until the 19th minute of play.
“We were running our press pretty well, we were forcing them to turnover the ball a lot throughout the midfield and in the backfield,” Fink said.
“I think we had Cornell maybe a little bit nervous,” she added. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t sustain that for the whole course of the game.”
Less than three minutes later, however, the gap was widened when Cornell’s Catie De Stio scored off an assist from senior Katie Thompson.
De Stio was the leading shooter for the Big Red, with six of the team’s whopping 29 shots (Penn had only four). The senior forward also assisted in Cornell’s final goal.
“I would believe [De Stio] is probably the best offensive threat as their center forward,” Fink said. “She just really took advantage of the opportunities that were given to her and we kind of had a hard time handling that later in the game.”
In goal, Kieran Sweeney made 12 saves, but her back line was unable to convert her strong defensive play into any form of effective attack.
“We were trying to come right down into the middle into their scoring circle. And Cornell did a job congesting that area of the field and kind of disallowing for us to enter in on that angle,” Fink said. “We needed to attack the baseline a little bit more and attack the corners a little bit more.”
Although they have begun their quest for the Ivy title on the wrong foot, Fink sees the opportunity to improve with the upcoming nonconference game against Villanova approaching.
“You got to progress, you got to grow every single week and identify the mistakes that you’re making and correct them as quickly as possible,” she said.
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