Penn field hockey looked like two completely different teams this weekend.
In their second game of the season on Friday, Penn delivered a forceful offensive performance against Saint Joseph’s. The impressive 5-2 victory was highlighted by a hat trick from speedy freshman Jasmine Cole. Fellow freshman Elise Tilton and junior Emily Corcoran also found the net.
Coach Colleen Fink thought that bringing a “different mindset defensively” also played a key role in the win.
In stark contrast to that triumphant outing, both the offensive and defensive units for the Quakers (2-1) were overmatched in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Bucknell, a team which had won two of its last three games.
In the first game of the weekend, the Red and Blue got off to a hot start, scoring three unanswered goals in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Corcoran struck first, cashing in on a breakaway just a minute into the contest. Cole made it 2-0 several minutes later. St. Joseph’s (1-5) responded by pulling junior goalie Rachel Barnett and inserting inexperienced freshman Amelia Deibler.
But the switch did not help out the Hawks. Cole scored again soon after the goalie substitution, this time following her own rebound to find the net.
Fink had high praise for Cole after the win.
“She has incredible speed on the ball,” she said. “Her teammates look for her in scoring positions because they know she’s such a threat.” Fink also added that the Quakers’ leading scorer “has a knack for finishing.”
But on Sunday, the Red and Blue couldn’t get off to the same hot start.
The Bison (3-3) drew first blood when sophomore Abby Watson scored her first goal of the year eight minutes into the contest. The Quakers failed to attempt a shot in the entire first half.
Penn’s lone goal came from Tilton, who has scored in every game this season, in the first minute of the second half. The 12-yard strike tied the game up at one, and made it seem like things were getting back to normal for the Red and Blue’s offense.
That was not the case, however. The Quakers only generated one shot the rest of the game, a wide effort from Corcoran. The winning goal came from Bucknell’s leading scorer Leigh Hillman off an assist from Maggie Murphy midway through the final half.
The offense hit a roadblock against Bucknell, getting only two shots off the entire game despite averaging over 20 shots per game in its prior two contests. It was the first time this season Penn struggled to create scoring opportunities.
“We had a really difficult time working the ball out of the backfield successfully,” Fink said.
She also admitted her team was “caught off guard” by Bucknell’s man-to-man pressure in the midfield.
Bucknell was able to keep constant pressure on the Quakers’ goal, putting up 13 shots and taking 10 penalty corners. Junior Carly Sokach’s impressive 11-save effort ultimately went unrewarded.
Fink’s squad will look to use the defeat as a learning experience.
“We learned some things today that I think are critical in the team’s continued improvement,” Fink said.
Sunday’s loss erased the building momentum for the Quakers. However, the team will have the chance to pick it back up when they begin Ivy play in the first game at the new Ellen Vagelos Field against Cornell on Saturday.
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