With a new coach and seven new freshmen, the Penn field hockey team had every intention of starting out fresh in Monday’s opener against Northeast Conference favorite Rider.
Despite scoring the opening goal, the Quakers were swallowed by the Broncs’ aggressive offense as they fell to an 8-3 loss.
Penn began strong with freshman Sunny Stirewalt scoring the first goal after only three minutes of play, but despite the determined start, Rider answered back quickly, racking up eight consecutive goals.
“I think we went back on our heels after we scored the first goal,” said senior co-captain Annie Matthews.
Rider outshot the Quakers 26-7 and had a 13-4 penalty corner advantage.
New coach Colleen Quinn Fink attributed Rider’s dominance throughout the game to Penn’s lack of intensity on the field.
“I think they opened up with intensity, but I don’t know what happened to it after that point,” she said.
Senior co-captain Laurel McGarvie and sophomore Kyle deSandes-Moyer each scored one goal in the second half, but the deficit was too large to close.
“We weren’t playing at the level we should have been playing at,” said McGarvie.
Sophomore Danielle Rothman and junior Kieran Sweeney split time in goal, racking up a combined 13 saves, but this effort was not enough to match up against Rider’s ferocious offense.
“We’ve been challenging them at practice to play more game-like, and today, unfortunately, we played like we practiced, which I think was with a little bit of a lack of intensity,” Fink said.
Rider’s aggressive forward line was led by freshman Sandra Penas. Penas dominated the field with a hat trick as well as two assists. In one week, the Rider star has accumulated 13 points.
“I think we just need to really concentrate and focus in on the fundamentals and getting more fundamentally strong,” Fink said.
The Quakers have two more games before Ivy play begins to solidify their fundamentals and rack up the level of intensity required from them on the field.
“This was a good learning experience. Obviously, this wasn’t the outcome we wanted for our first game, but now we know where we are and where we need to be,” Matthews said.
“If we don’t play intensely during the course of the season, it’s going to be a long season,” said Fink.
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