It was the final game for the senior class and possibly the final game ever for the Penn field hockey team at Franklin Field.
And if it was, the Quakers closed it in style with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over Brown.
“We’ve been saying, ‘Ninety years of field hockey we’ve been playing here — we need to win our last game if it’s the last time we’re playing here ever,” junior captain Julie Tahan said. “So it was a lot of pressure, but we pulled it out!”
Sunday may have marked the program’s final contest at the stadium because plans for a new field are in place, and the project could be completed as soon as next fall. But nothing is official yet.
Either way, it was the last time for senior Sarah Hasson, who scored the first goal for Penn (9-7, 3-3 Ivy) and took a team-high nine shots, seven of which were on goal.
Coach Colleen Fink expressed afterward how proud she is of her senior, who has bought in to a program in transition since Fink took the helm when Hasson was a sophomore in 2010.
“It’s so nice to see her really stepping up this year,” Fink said. “She was All-Ivy her freshman year, and then we came in and we started mixing things up. … This year she’s really coming into her own, and she’s fit and really able to play the way we want her to.”
In overtime, it was Tahan who broke the tie, knocking in a rebound off a Hasson shot on Penn’s third penalty corner of the extra period.
“Julie, she’s just been playing really well as of late, so for her to get the game-winner, it’s just amazing,” Fink said.
The game was closer than it should have been. The Red and Blue dominated ball control throughout, holding a 25-4 advantage in shots over the Bears (6-10, 1-5). Compared to Penn’s 15 penalty corners, Brown had just one.
“I think because we had so many chances, it fueled us to want to work even harder,” Hasson said. “Especially in the last few minutes of overtime when we had corner after corner after corner.”
Not only did the win assure the senior class would go out on a high note, it guaranteed Penn will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2006.
A senior class of Kyle deSandes-Moyer, Mandy Epstein and Hasson helped improve Penn’s win total from three in 2010, to four last year and nine this season.
The team’s finale comes next Saturday on the road at Princeton, a team which has yet to lose in the Ivy League and features multiple Olympians.
But Sunday, the team hadn’t reached the preparation stages yet, still basking in the win.
“It’s not gonna sink in for a little while,” an excited Hasson said afterward. “I was pretty emotional before. I’m not a big crier but I was pretty upset, just with emotion. Everybody was like, ‘This is your game, this is the seniors’ game.’ It’ll probably hit me in the spring.”