Sometimes, first halves can be deceiving.
Despite a halftime lead, Penn field hockey fell to first-place Yale, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at Franklin Field.
After a 5-2 victory over Appalachian State last weekend, the Quakers (3-11, 1-4 Ivy) came out ready to keep their momentum going.
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Sophomore Julie Tahan, Penn’s leading scorer, netted the first and only goal of the first half with just under 17 minutes remaining, giving Penn a slight cushion over its Ivy foes going into halftime.
“I think we really wanted to come out strong and shut them down,” Tahan said.
And the Red and Blue accomplished just that in the first half.
However, Yale (8-6, 4-1) displayed its strong offense — the Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in goals per game — in the second half, which the Quakers struggled to combat defensively.
Co-captain Caroline Olt said one of Penn’s main objectives for the match was to avoid allowing any goals in the first five minutes of either half, which the team successfully achieved.
“We wanted to score first, which we also did,” Olt said. “So I think probably our biggest challenge is playing our best for the 70 full minutes, not having any mental lapses and getting that win.”
As Yale’s offensive pressure built up in the second half, the Quakers’ defense fought to adjust and gain control. The task proved difficult, as Penn had trouble finding scoring opportunities.
Despite the pressure — the Bulldogs outshot Penn, 10-4 — Quakers keeper Kieran Sweeney managed eight saves on the day.
But 10 minutes into the second half, Yale’s Gabby Garcia penetrated quickly into the Quakers’ defense off a corner for the score.
“We were having a rough time getting it up to offense to even get chances,” said Tahan, who took three of Penn’s four shots on goal.
Midway through the second half, Erica Borgo found the top corner of the net, and the Bulldogs went up for good, 2-1.
Carrying over the energy and drive from the first half to play a solid full game is a big goal for the Quakers moving into Wednesday’s game at Rider.
“Hopefully we’ll get out there and play the full 70 minutes against Rider and get the win,” Olt said.
Penn coach Colleen Fink echoed Olt’s sentiment, adding that her team began playing a bit more individually in the second half and lacked communication in terms of ball movement.
“I think we need to make better use of our attacking opportunities,” Fink said. “You can’t win a game when you have only one shot in the second half.”
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