Down an early goal, it seemed as though Penn field hockey would suffer another heart-wrenching loss to Columbia. Instead, the Quakers made a statement Friday afternoon for the rest of the Ivy League to hear.
The Red and Blue recorded an emphatic 4-1 win against the Lions over the weekend, before suffering a hard-fought loss Sunday to No. 8 Delaware in double overtime, 3-2.
The weekend got off to a rough start for Penn (9-4, 3-1 Ivy), as Columbia junior Maeve Daugherty scored in the eighth minute of the game. While the Quakers started the game with chances to score early, it was the Lions (6-7, 1-3) who were able to convert on their first opportunity.
“It definitely was against the run of play,” sophomore forward Sofia Palacios said. “We weren’t necessarily playing bad, and they weren’t having a ton of shots, so we knew we had the whole game in front of us to keep on going.”
Facing early adversity, the Quakers responded. Twelve minutes later, freshman forward Chelsea Duggan was able to sneak a pass from the end line to Palacios, who leveled the score of the game.
From that point, the Red and Blue, who managed seven shots on goal in the first half, began to deliver on their scoring opportunities.
Off a penalty corner in the 27th minute, junior Rachel Huang delivered a ball that allowed sophomore Paige Meily to set up freshman Alexa Schneck, who struck Penn’s second goal of the game. Senior Elise Tilton closed out the first half by scoring off another penalty corner, giving Penn a 3-1 lead.
Palacios spoke about the Quaker’s conversion rate on penalty corners.
“We definitely have been practicing shooting a lot,” she said. “Taking as many shots as possible and making the defense pay if they allow us to shoot.”
Besides the offensive display from the Quakers, an impressive defensive performance from Meily and junior back Jasmine Li limited the Lions to just three shots in the first half. The defensive carried on into the second half, as the Lions were unable to score for the rest of the game, despite managing eight shots on goal.
The lone score of the second half went to junior forward Alexa Hoover. Hoover managed to reroute a shot fired from junior midfielder Gina Guccione into the top left corner of the goal, solidifying what became the final 4-1 scoreline.
For Penn, this win redeemed a disappointing last four showings against Columbia – the Lions had secured overtime victories against the Red and Blue for four consecutive years.
“Going into Columbia, everyone talked about how we always lost and last year’s [game] was in double overtime and it was really tough for everyone,” Palacios said. “Getting that win and not going to overtime is such a relief.”
Coach Colleen Fink was particularly impressed with her team’s resilience.
“We’ve been talking about being present and having that mentality of a 0-0 game, whatever the score reflects,” Fink said. “We’ve done that really well the last two matches.”
The weekend did not end there for the Quakers. On Sunday, the team traveled to Newark, Del. to face the Blue Hens (13-2, 3-0 CAA). A win would bolster the Quakers’ chances of qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
It was not meant to be. At one point facing a two-point deficit, Huang delivered a late-game equalizer to send the game into overtime. But in the first minute of double overtime, Delaware sophomore Greta Nauck scored her second goal of the game to secure the 3-2 win.
Fink spoke about how her team can further improve.
“It’s been an ongoing theme about our baseline defense,” the seventh-year coach said. “There’s got to be a better mentality that the ball is not coming across.”
The Quakers will look to carry these two strong games into their matchup against Yale. And with the way that the Quakers performed this week, consider the rest of the Ivy League on notice.
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