A five-minute stretch can change the whole game in any sport. Penn found that out the hard way Wednesday night in a 5-2 loss against No. 13 Lafayette.
Penn (5-5) held tight to Lafayette (9-1) throughout the first half, with the Leopards carrying a 2-1 lead into halftime. Ultimately though, Lafayette pulled away from the Quakers during a five-minute span early in the second half.
“Lafayette came out really strong and they utilized their speed and they were able to get three very quick goals in that second half,” coach Colleen Fink said. “So that was pretty much the demise of the game plan.”
Lafayette’s Haley Keenan opened the scoring around the 10-minute mark before Penn responded 13 minutes later with a goal from senior midfielder Sarah Hasson off a corner. Lafayette got back on top, 2-1, late in the first half with a goal from Deanna Dicroce.
The momentum was in the balance coming out of the break, but it quickly tipped in Lafayette’s favor as the Leopards scored three goals within five minutes of each other.
Jenna Seybert and Emily Valeo notched two rapid-fire scores to make it 4-1 before Keenan got her second and Lafayette’s final goal of the night.
Both Fink and Hasson believed a lack of energy and communication were to blame for the goals early in the second half.
“They actually came out with a very big spark and wanted to put goals in the cage, and that’s what they did,” Hasson said. “I think we can learn from this and be accountable for the fact that we let them have three goals in the first seven minutes of the second half, and that can’t happen.”
Hasson got a late consolation goal for the Red and Blue, but Penn was unable to rally against a strong Leopards defense, which has allowed just 1.3 goals per game.
“We were able to muster it back together for about 15 minutes and get back into the game plan, but it was too late for us to make any serious impact offensively,” Fink said.
Lafayette was the first nationally ranked opponent the Red and Blue have faced this season. Despite the disappointing result, Hasson still believes her team can compete with teams as good as the Leopards. They’ll face No. 4 Princeton in November.
“I think that we need to learn that we cannot only stay with a team like Lafayette but we can also beat a team like Lafayette,” Hasson said. “We came out in the first half and played really well. We knew we had the game if we continued to play for 70 minutes hard.”
The Quakers will now return to Franklin Field for two home games, taking on Radford this weekend and resuming Ivy League play on Oct. 12 against Columbia.