This weekend, Penn field hockey is bringing the passion.
Penn has two critical games on the horizon, meeting conference rival Yale at home on Friday and hosting Syracuse, a team that is ranked No. 10 in the NCAA, on Sunday.
The Quakers (6-6, 2-2 Ivy) suffered a tough loss at Columbia last Friday before soundly beating Philly rival Temple later that weekend. The loss to the Lions looms large as the team looks ahead to their fifth conference game against Yale (4-8, 1-3).
“[Yale] is a really big game and, looking at last year, we lost to them in overtime, so I think we really need to use that as motivation,” sophomore back Alexa Schneck said. “Nothing really changed with our goals [since last year]. We still wanna come into the game with a strong mentality. We really wanna take them down.”
Senior back Jasmine Li echoed her teammate's sentiment.
“Teams want to play their hearts out and beat the other team, and with us, especially with our two tough Ivy losses, I think there’s even more fire in us to want to beat Yale and show them our best efforts.”
Although the game against Yale is a chance for redemption of last year’s loss, the game against Syracuse (11-4, 2-4 ACC) may be even more crucial for the Quakers’ chances at improving their NCAA ranking.
“I think [the Syracuse game] is even more so an opportunity for us to show the NCAA the potential that we have and where we see this program going in the future,” Li said. “The goal is definitely to maintain that high level of play the entire 70 minutes against a top team like Syracuse.”
Penn, currently ranked No. 27 in the country, needs to rise nine places in the ranking between now and the end of the regular season if they want a shot at the national championship. The team is focused on getting into the right mindset to win each individual game, rather than worrying about the whole season.
“The biggest thing to really think about for our team is just to think about team mentality,” Li said. “When we crumble under pressure, we start to get in our own heads and think individually, and we get to worry about our own mistakes and our own performance in the game. But, in order to win as a team, you need to think for the team, you need to think as a team.”
The squad has five more chances to grab wins that could vault them up the national rankings. Those chances start on Friday.
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