Next Monday, the pages of Sports Illustrated will contain a face very familiar to Penn field hockey: Jasmine Cole, the freshman attack from Montclair, N.J. who has been largely responsible for Penn’s unprecedented success this season.
Cole — along with six other athletes — will be part of SI’s “Faces in the Crowd” feature for her exceptional performance at Penn this season.
Cole currently leads the team in goals, points and shots on goal and is second only to senior attack Julie Tahan in total shots taken. With Cole at the helm, the team leads the Ivy League in goals scored and sits at second in the overall standings just one game behind Princeton.
She and the Quakers (12-3, 4-1 Ivy) hope to continue their recent success when they face Brown (6-8, 1-4) on Saturday at noon in Providence, R.I., less than a week before the Sports Illustrated issue comes out.
Along with Cole’s offensive prowess, Penn’s strong defense will be especially crucial going into the last two games of the season.
Headed by junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach, the Quakers’ strong defensive presence has been on display all year — eight of their 12 wins have come in games when they allowed less than two goals to their opponent. It has been especially apparent over the course of their current three-game winning streak, during which they have limited their opponents to one or fewer goals each game.
Coach Colleen Fink emphasized the importance of Sokach’s goalkeeping — which has kept opponents to two or fewer goals in nine games so far this season.
“Carly’s been great in goal, and she needs to continue to be great if we’re going to continue to be successful,” Fink said.
“I think the biggest thing is she’s going into games more focused on what her responsibility is — you know, as goalkeeper, one of your responsibilities is to organize your defense, but the end of the day when the ball enters that circle, you have one responsibility, and that’s to make the save.”
The Quakers face Brown exactly one week before Penn faces Princeton on Nov. 9 in a rivalry game that will likely decide who wears the Ivy League crown. With so many important dates looming in the near future, the Quakers must be careful to avoid overlooking Brown by thinking too far ahead.
“We don’t look too far ahead, maybe a game out … everyone on the team has a clear understanding that for us to be in a good position on the 9th, we have to win what the next game is,” Fink said.
“Every game is so important because every game has playoff implications, not just the rivalries. I think you just have to look at it in that light … this game, right now, is more important than the Nov. 9 game.
“I think everyone on this squad has a clear understanding of how important this game is. And I would be shocked if our team didn’t come out fired up for a full 70 minutes.”
With Cole leading the team and Sokach between the bars, the only thing standing between the Quakers and a victory on Saturday is themselves.