Unlike their previous two outings, the Quakers’ weekend battle was decided on the defensive end.
Saturday afternoon, the Penn field hockey team fell at Dartmouth, 2-0, snapping its two-game winning streak.
The two teams were the fewest combined in a match for either of the two squads this season.
Despite combining for 20 shots, the two sides played to a 0-0 tie through the first 35 minutes.
The tiebreaker came 51 ticks into the second half, when the Big Green (5-4, 2-1 Ivy) ripped a shot high in the circle past Penn goalie Carly Sokach. Dartmouth added an insurance goal late in the game to secure the win.
The two scores notwithstanding, the performance of the Quakers’ defense was a bright spot.
Two goals are the fewest Penn (5-4, 1-2) has allowed since the season opener. The Red and Blue’s ability to prevent the Big Green from getting second chances drew praise from Dartmouth coach Amy Fowler.
Looking at the game from the other end of the field, Penn coach Colleen Fink was satisfied with the defensive effort, attributing the improvement to the Quakers’ man-to-man coverage.
“We’ve been working on isolated 1-v-1s in the defensive 25,” Fink said.
Such pressure proved effective. While Dartmouth did record 22 shots — its second-highest total on the season — less than half of them created a scoring opportunity, a trend that was especially noticeable in the first half.
“A lot of the shots that we gave up were ones that they couldn’t have scored on,” sophomore goalkeeper Carly Sokach said, adding that many of Dartmouth’s shots “came under really heavy defensive pressure.”
Paralleling the strong collective defensive effort, Sokach had an impressive individual outing, recording eight saves. Her .800 save percentage marked a season high.
On the other end of the field, Dartmouth held the Quakers’ offense at bay. Despite Penn’s recent scoring prowess — the squad notched four goals in both of its previous two games — the Big Green, which have been on a tear as of late, handed the Quakers their third shutout.
Dartmouth has won four straight matches since it lost to No. 2 Princeton. And it has only allowed one goal in its last 160 minutes.
Penn’s next Ivy match arrives Oct. 12, when it hosts Columbia. In the meantime, the Quakers will focus on two non-conference foes in Lafayette and Radford.
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