In 2008, the NFL’s Detroit Lions went 4-0 in preseason play, only to go on to lose all 16 regular-season games that actually mattered.
Preseason games probably mean a little more in college sports, where teams don’t typically sit their star players after one half of play. Regardless, a fresh start awaits the Penn field hockey team this Saturday when it kicks off its Ivy League season against Cornell.
Come this weekend, the team’s not-so-close losses in its first four non-league games will not matter.
“Even though our record is 0-4, we are improving every game,” freshman Alex Iqbal said. “If we go 1-0 [in the Ivies], it’ll be a great boost to our season.”
Coach Colleen Fink says the team has been continuously making strides, but its progress has yet to yield results.
“The most frustrating thing right now is that we’re an 0-4 team that doesn’t look like we should be 0-4,” Fink said. “If you watch the games, we do some really nice things, but the problem is that there’s people making critical mistakes that are holding us back, and those people need to start making adjustments.”
Fink did not call out any players in particular, but stated that adjustments needed to be made “sooner rather than later.”
Given that the Red and Blue have not defeated Cornell since 2007, Saturday’s matchup marks the seniors’ final chance to beat the Big Red.
“It’s been major talk in the locker room,” senior co-captain Abigail Egan said. “Coming off of four losses, we’re really, really itching to win.”
The underclassmen are well aware that this is the seniors’ final chance to notch a win over the Big Red.
“As a team, we all know that this is the last chance for them,” Iqbal said. “They all really have a presence on the field, and I look to all of them …we want to try for them.”
Looking ahead to the Quakers’ Ivy hopes this year, it will be an uphill battle once again. Princeton has won 16 of the last 17 league titles and is currently ranked No. 19 in the country — the lone Ivy team in the top 20. However, Yale returns four All-Ivy players, and Cornell brings back two, including last year’s co-Ivy Rookie of the Year, forward Hannah Balleza.
The Tigers find themselves in an interesting predicament, however, because four of their star players are taking this season off to prepare for the 2012 Olympics.
“If there’s going to be a year where any team in the Ivy can take them down, this could be the year,” Fink predicted.
Could the Quakers possibly be that team?
“I think there’s an opportunity to beat any Ivy team,” Fink added. “That’s the mentality you have to take at this point in the season.”
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