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It was a season finale that left fans waiting for the next episode. For the Penn field hockey team, Friday night's 4-0 loss to Princeton showed promising glimpses of what may be to come next season. For the Tigers, the victory put them one step closer to a possible share of the Ivy title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Quakers' (5-12, 1-6 Ivy League) never-ending woes of injuries played a large factor in Penn's spot in the Ivy League standings this season. Second to last in the league, the Quakers were not predicted to come anywhere close to beating Princeton (11-6, 6-1), last year's NCAA runner-up. And although the Quakers gave up four goals to the Tigers, Penn held them scoreless for the first 20 minutes. Once the first goal found the cage, the Tigers unleashed their craving for a share of the Ivy title, and the Orange and Black dominated the remainder of the competition. At the 11:04 mark, Melanie Meerschwam gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead off a penalty corner. Meerschwam's goal was one of Princeton's 12 corner attempts during the game. Penn, on the other hand, rallied for only two corner attempts, both of which were unsuccessful in finding the cage. In addition to dominating on corner attempts, the Tigers outshot the Quakers, 15-2. Princeton's Ilvy Friebe scored the second goal of the game with just under three minutes remaining in the half, giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime. After intermission, Princeton's Hilary Matson fired a shot past Penn goalie Alison Friedman -- who ended the match with five saves -- at the 24:08 mark. For the Tigers' fourth tally, Kellie Maul dribbled the ball down the middle of the field and scored Princeton's final goal of the regular season. "[Princeton] is a good team and although it probably wasn't as strong of a game as we would have liked to finish our season with, we definitely weren't lacking in any one particular aspect of our game," junior Amna Nawaz said. "In that sense it was nice to come together to end our season." Six seniors ended their college careers this past Homecoming weekend -- Courtney Martin, Katie McCuen, Jen Murray, Flynn, Brooke Jenkins and Leah Bills. Two of them, however, were struck by an unusual plague of injuries that has inflicted Penn during the 1999 season. Five yards from the sideline, Jenkins and Bills cheered on their teammates in what would have been their final game had they been healthy. Due to surgeries, Jenkins (ACL) and Bills (Achilles tendon) were forced to hang up their jerseys prematurely this season. With the two former starters watching helplessly from the trainer's golf cart, coach Val Cloud was able to put some new faces into the lineup. "Everyone on our team believes that anyone else can step up and play well, but it is difficult when two people who strongly lead our team in offense and defense aren't on the field," Nawaz said. "[Jenkins and Bills] left big shoes to fill, their absences were definitely felt." Freshman Colleen Connors made her collegiate debut on Friday. Other freshmen, such as Kylee Jakobowski and Mandy Doherty, have been "bright spots" throughout the entire season, according to Cloud. "We have so much potential on this team. Some of the players didn't even get an opportunity to leave the bench this season," Cloud said. "I'm sorry [the season] is over because we can still really improve. But at least in the springtime some of the other kids, who didn't get a chance to play this season, will gain some experience. That will be a big thing for next year." Unfortunately, this year's experienced Penn players were bombarded with a wave of bad luck. "Hopefully next year will be totally different in terms of our luck with injuries," Cloud said. "Every turn we made this season, something happened to somebody." The Tigers, meanwhile, were playing for pride and had everything to lose on Friday night. This year's Princeton squad became the first to lose a game in Ivy League play since the '93 season when it fell to Brown 2-1 in October. Whiel the Bears, undefeated in Ivy play, had clinched a berth in the NCAAs with the head-to-head edge over Princeton, the Tigers still had a shot at tying for the Ivy title. Princeton entered the week determined to beat both Columbia and Penn while also hoping that Brown would fall to Harvard, a .500 team in the Ivies. The Tigers, who handily defeated both Penn and Columbia, lived up to their part of the bargain. Surprisingly, so did Brown. Harvard, the obvious underdog, handed the Bears their first Ivy loss in a 3-2 overtime thriller on Saturday. As a result, the Tigers now share the Ivy title with Brown. Nevertheless, their season ended with the win at Franklin Field, marking the first time the Tigers seniors ended their season without a trip to the NCAAs.

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