Score early, score often.
That mantra ruled the weekend for Penn’s field hockey team.
On Friday, the Quakers failed to do so, falling to Columbia, 5-1, in New York. Two days later, however, they came out firing against Appalachian State at Franklin Field to win, 5-2.
Freshman back Alex Iqbal was Sunday’s hero, as she scored the first goal of her collegiate career.
And her second.
And then her third, to complete a hat trick — the first such feat since Laurel McGarvie’s three goals against St. Francis in 2009.
“To capitalize first was really important for us,” Iqbal said.
That reflects a season-long trend for the Quakers (3-10, 1-3 Ivy), who have yet to win a game in which they concede the first goal. The Red and Blue have struggled with giving up quick goals in succession, like when they conceded four in 12 minutes against Lehigh, a sequence coach Colleen Fink herself noted as particularly egregious.
The case against Columbia (6-6. 3-1) was similar, as Penn allowed two goals within the first six minutes. The Lions netted two more goals just after halftime.
But Sunday, the Quakers put up two goals within the first four minutes, as well as scoring early in the second half. It was the first time all season the team had scored more than three goals and just the third game in which they scored more than once.
So how did the Quakers reverse season-long patterns of allowing goals in quick succession and failing to put points on the board first?
Fink actually didn’t think their approach on the field was much different Sunday.
“We’ve had so many balls just wide off the end-line, hitting the post, just so many unfortunate things happened this season, and today, none of those things happened for us,” Fink said. “We were able to finish in good scoring positions. … I think [we’ve] been connecting all season.”
Aside from just finishing opportunities, the Quakers controlled possession and seemed more composed.
“It’s been coming together all year, all season, Iqbal said. “We were able to string our passes together, going inside of the field and back outside.”
Sunday, Penn continues Ivy play against Yale, likely a more formidable opponent than the 1-13 Mountaineers.
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