Coach Colleen Fink has been stressing one thing to the Penn field hockey team all year — to focus on playing well in the first and last five minutes of each half.
Apparently, that message hasn’t gotten through. Harvard scored three goals in the opening five minutes of the second half Saturday, and the Quakers’ short-lived Ivy League winning streak came to an abrupt end as they fell, 4-1, in Cambridge, Mass.
In the first frame, the Crimson (3-3, 1-1 Ivy) unleashed a barrage of shots on the Red and Blue, outshooting Penn (1-6, 1-1) in the half, 12-3. Harvard, though, was only able to put one in the back of the net.
“The first half was obviously a problem,” Fink said. “But we got out of that first half pretty much unscathed with it just being 1-0.”
It was in the beginning of the second half that the Quakers lost the game. Just one minute in, the Crimson made it 2-0 with a goal on a penalty stroke. From there, things began to unravel for the Red and Blue, and Harvard added another two goals in the ensuing three minutes. When the bleeding finally stopped, the Crimson led, 4-0.
“It was that five-minute period in which we had a serious let up and a complete lack of confidence,” Fink remarked. “Those are the moments where leadership, motivation, and preparedness need to rise to the surface.”
The Quakers were able to generate some offense after that, but considering the score, Harvard may not have been pressing as hard. Penn won the second half shot battle, 12-11.
More concerning for Penn is that in their seventh game of the season, they have yet to score more than one goal in a game. They were able to generate chances — they had nine penalty corners — but ultimately, some of those chances need to become scores.
“We just seem to keep finding the goalie’s pads,” said sophomore Julie Tahan, who scored the Quakers’ lone goal in the match. “We need to start finding the corners [of the goal] and execute our penalty corners better … You can’t win off of one goal.”
Although they did win on one goal last weekend against Cornell, the Red and Blue can’t expect goalkeeper Kieran Sweeney and the defense to put up a shutout every night.
Despite the loss, Fink remains optimistic for this week’s coming games against La Salle and Dartmouth.
“We have a talented enough team to be able to play with any of the teams in our conference,” Fink said. “We just have to keep working at it … I know my staff is completely willing to do that, and I know the team is completely willing to do that.”
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