After what was an erratic but successful weekend for Penn softball against Cornell, the Quakers will look to regroup as Drexel stops by for a Wednesday nonconference matchup at Penn Park.
While a lot went right for the Quakers (12-15) this last weekend as they scored 27 runs while winning three of four games, there were plenty of things that are cause for worry before the matchup with the Dragons (15-17).
The Red and Blue committed six errors over the weekend, were shut out by the Big Red, 9-0, on Saturday and surrendered 25 runs in their own right.
“It was essential that we had some really solid hitting this weekend due to the fact that we surrendered a lot of runs,” coach Leslie King said. “Locking down our defense is something that we definitely want to focus on in this upcoming game.
“We are a young team, and unfortunately we are still making some young mistakes.”
However, while the Quakers may have plenty of young faces on the roster, the team does have the benefit of having several talented veterans that are more than capable of bringing the freshmen up to speed.
Junior outfielder Sydney Turchin is not only one of the team’s most productive players, but also one of its most seasoned. Turchin has been a staple of the Quakers’ outfield since her freshman year, when she was the only player to see time in all 50 games for Penn. Now, with 119 games under her belt halfway through her junior campaign, the two-time second team All-Ivy outfielder is an essential counterweight to the inexperience of much of the program.
“I know something I’ve done and something I think all the upperclassmen have done is try to impart to the freshman just how much we care about this team and how much this program means to us,” she said. “I think the underclassmen definitely notice how hard I and all the juniors and seniors work, and I think that was important in helping them realize that this is Division 1 softball, and that this is the real deal.”
However, despite having the third-highest batting average on the team this season (.313) and the third-most career games played of active players on the roster, Turchin doesn’t necessarily think her place on the team has changed much in her time at Penn.
“I don’t think my role on this team has changed all that much over the past two years,” she said. “I still do the same things that I always have which is to go out there, work hard and try to make a difference on this team. That’s all any of us every really try to do.”
Penn’s game with Drexel will be the Quakers’ last chance to try and buckle down on its defense before the team hits the road for a pivotal divisional series against Princeton this upcoming weekend.
“We treat every game like it’s an Ivy competition,” King said. “But this game is nice because it allows us to give some players who are banged up a short rest while giving us the opportunity to stay sharp, work on those things and keep taking steps forward.”
The Quakers proved last year that they could win a championship with an entirely veteran lineup. This year, Penn is out to prove that it can do the same thing with a considerably younger team.
And with players like Turchin leading the charge, Penn might just have what it takes.
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