Though the season didn’t end as many hoped, 2013 was a season of tremendous growth for Penn field hockey. Here are the top five moments from a campaign that ended with the team falling to Princeton in a do-or-die match for the Ivy title.
1. Super stop, Carly Sokach!
The junior goalie was at her absolute best against Yale on Oct. 26, stopping all 15 shots she faced — plus an additional four in penalties — in a 1-0 shootout win.
“Once you get your confidence and you get your footing, no matter what the offense is doing, the defense can stand strong,” she said.
2. Grand Opening
Years in the making, Ellen Vagelos Field received the perfect introduction when the Quakers took on Cornell on Sept. 21.
Penn’s play matched the speed of the top-of-the-line artificial turf playing surface, as then-junior attack Emily Corcoran scored after just 33 seconds in a 4-3 Red and Blue victory.
One day later, the Quakers offense continued to hum, scoring five goals in the first half en route to a 7-0 pasting of Pacific.
3. The perfect setup
Though Penn fell in its finale to Princeton, 5-1, it couldn’t erase the memory of the squad’s brilliant performance against Brown a week earlier.
Then-freshman Jasmine Cole scored two goals just 2:49 apart, as the Quakers manhandled the Bears, 4-0.
“I think our offense needed that kind of game to regain its confidence and to go into [the Princeton] matchup feeling hot,” coach Colleen Fink said.
4. Nonconference domination
Opponents outside of the Ivy League proved to be no match for the Quakers in 2013. Overall, the Red and Blue went 8-2 against their nonconference foes.
Some of the highlights: a 7-1 pasting of Appalachian State that featured two goals and an assist from then-senior attack Sunny Stirewalt, a 4-3 overtime win over Rider that ended on a Corcoran strike and a 5-4 season-opening win over Lehigh that then-sophomore attack Elizabeth Hitti finished off with a penalty corner.
5. Heads held high in defeat
Win or lose, the homecoming finale against Princeton proved to be a turning point for Penn field hockey. The stands at Vagelos Field were packed to the brim, while dozens of alumni from far and wide took part in a powerful pregame ceremony. Penn may have fallen short, but that afternoon over 600 people became privy to the potential that surrounded the field hockey program.
“I would say it was a special season, but that may imply a temporary status — instead, I view it as a step in the direction that Penn field hockey wants to continue,” Fink wrote in a postseason column for The Daily Pennsylvanian . “The women involved with Penn field hockey want to win. We want to work hard. We want to be respected for a long time. The 2013 season was amazing for the staff and players; however, we all agree we are not done.”