Disciplined aggression helps Penn field hockey shut down Harvard
Elizabeth Hitti's goal in the first half proved to be all the Quakers needed
September 28, 2013, 1:50 pm·
Raquel Macgregor | DP
Even away from Ellen Vagelos Field, Penn field hockey continues adding on to its string of successes.
On the road for their second Ivy match of the season, the Quakers shut out Harvard, defeating the Crimson, 1-0.
Penn (6-1, 2-0 Ivy) and Harvard (3-3, 1-1) were neck-and-neck throughout the game in nearly all departments — Harvard took 17 shots to Penn’s 16 and made 10 saves to Penn’s 12, and each team took five corners. Penn’s offensive intensity and discipline on defense ultimately allowed them to net the win against its conference foe.
The deciding goal came with eight minutes left in the first period, as sophomore attack Elizabeth Hitti found the back of the net. Hitti now has three goals on the season.
The offense’s aggressiveness was key to the victory. Hitti’s goal came at the end of a sequence during which Penn took five shots in under a minute. After freshman attack Jasmine Cole’s shot bounced off the post, Hitti was able to find the ball off the rebound and put it in.
“In that time period we did a really good job of maintaining possession in the offensive end,” coach Colleen Fink said. “[The goal] was a great finish to a couple minutes of offensive pressure.”
While senior captain and attack Julie Tahan did not score, she was a crucial offensive presence.
Tahan led the team with four shots, three of which were on goal. Hitti and Cole also had three shots apiece.
While the Quakers succeeded on offense, their win would not have been possible without their equally strong defensive performance.
Defense became especially important in the second period, during which Harvard upped its attack.
While the Crimson took nine shots to Penn’s six in the second period, junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach kept Harvard out of the net, preserving the win. It was Sokach’s second shutout performance in the past three games.
The Quakers continued to rely on staunch defensive discipline in the closing minutes of the game, as Harvard launched a final offensive attack that could have been deadly in the one-goal game.
“While we were on defense the last two or three minutes of the game, we played really smart defensively,” Fink said. “To see them being really smart in that type of situation in the game, up one, on the defensive end of the field — that was really important.”
While it is certainly still early in the season, Penn has quickly jumped up in the standings and established itself as an Ivy threat. The Red and Blue have now won four straight and sit atop the Ancient Eight with Princeton. At 6-1, they are also off to the program’s best start since 1993.
“This was a really rough, tough road win,” Fink said. “To be able to come from a really evenly matched game with a win on the road is obviously very critical in terms of overall standing in the Ivy League and rewarding for the team.”