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The Penn field hockey seniors bid farewell to Franklin Field tonight. The Penn field hockey team was turning heads in the Ivy League this season, emerging as a darkhorse contender to steal the Ivy crown from Princeton. Then, in last Wednesday's 6-0 loss to nationally ranked No. 7 Penn State, Penn junior co-captain Maureen Flynn tore her ACL -- an injury that not only stripped the Quakers (7-8) of a corner offense, but also eliminated any chance at an Ancient Eight title. In Penn's first game without Flynn, the team was mathematically eliminated from an Ivy championship with a 4-2 home loss to Yale. In the process, this Friday's much-anticipated road trip to Princeton lost its significance. Today, the Flynn-less Quakers return to the turf of Franklin Field at 7 p.m., in what figures to be a difficult contest. Their opponent is West Chester University (9-10), which went 15-4 last season en route to an Atlantic-10 title. But a secondary force afflicting Penn is internal, as the Red and Blue must keep intensity high despite Saturday's disappointing end to a hard-fought chase. A win today would be special to the team's seniors, as its their final home game. Plus, a 'W' against the Ivy champion Princeton is unlikely, so today may prove to be the last chance for a win. "It's very important to [the seniors] that they win," Penn sophomore Bess Freedlander said. But the Golden Rams aren't about to get pushed around without doing some battering. 1997 Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year Kathy Krannebitter leads West Chester into Franklin Field, with boiling, Xando-coffee hot freshman Joelle Maguire in the Golden Rams' net. After a 2-9 start, Krannebitter pulled senior Beth Steck in favor of Maguire. The move made all the difference, as the frosh has led West Chester to a 7-1 record behind her 0.81 Goals Allowed Average and her .875 save percentage. Included in Maguire's win total was a five-game win streak, which extended from October 11 until October 28, and included a 3-0 victory against Brown. "Their season is on the upswing," Freedlander said. "[Today's game] is going to prove a very challenging one to win." While the Golden Rams, as a team, did not look at any game film of Penn, Maguire acquired background on her opponents by surfing the net. The first player that grabbed her eye was Flynn, who at the time she expected to prove her arch nemesis. "When I looked on the website, [Flynn] was the first player I noticed," Maguire said. "But it still doesn't mean anything. We still have to play the team as if she was in there." Penn faces a different task -- playing knowing full-well that Flynn is absent -- looking to other players to fill the goal-scoring void. One Quaker whom Penn coach Val Cloud will rely on heavily is sophomore attack Bess Freedlander, who already has netted seven goals this season. "Definitely, it needs to come from the attack to shoulder some of that," Freedlander said. "But I also feel that everyone needs to step up." If history repeats itself, tomorrow should bode well for Penn. Last season, the Quakers made the trip to West Chester, Pa., and came away with a stunning 1-0 overtime win against the then-ranked No. 14 Goldern Rams. But the opposing argument is that last time around, Flynn was the one wreaking havoc, breaking down the Golden Rams' attack, and then-senior Emily Hansel finally put it in the net. With Hansel graduated, the Sarah Dunn, Audrey Heinel and Flynn combo emerged as the stabilizing force all season. Breaking up the triumvirate disturbed the order, as the play against Yale went from enthalpy to entropy. For Penn to win this evening, a new consistency must first emerge. Defeating West Chester is less glamorous than an Ivy crown. But for the seniors, it would prove one last memory to cornerstone a solid season. Given all that the Quakers have faced this week -- and a win tonight is still no Ivy title -- beating the Golden Rams will end Penn's home season in style and provide Flynn with a showing that will make her proud.

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