With three consecutive sudden death overtime losses, a co-captain sidelined with a broken finger and an opponent that had taken their past two meetings, the Penn field hockey team could have headed out onto the field yesterday against Lafayette feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, the Quakers earned their first victory of the season, 3-1, with a flurry of goals in the last six minutes of the contest. "It's a relief," Penn coach Val Cloud said. "The first win is a big one, and it was well-deserved." Both the Quakers (1-3) and Leopards were hungry for a win, with Lafayette (3-3) coming off a tough 2-1 loss in sudden death penalty strokes. For the first 62 minutes, the teams were deadlocked in a scoreless match until Jen King scored for the Leopards with 7:49 remaining in the second half. The Quakers evened the score quickly, with sophomore Ali Corsi finding the back of the net with little more than five minutes left in the game. With an assist by junior Nikki Battiste, Corsi scored again less than two minutes later to give the Quakers their first lead in the game. "We played OK in the first, but after the first goal we just got hungrier," Penn co-captain Monique Horshaw said. Battiste followed up her assist with an unassisted goal that, to Cloud, demonstrated the direction her team is now taking. "Nikki's last goal was controlled, but it happened because of the aggressive play of the team," Cloud said. "We're starting to come together; we're improving as individuals, which makes us a better team." The contrast between the Quakers' play in the first and second halves made all the difference. "This was one of the best Lafayette games played, and this time the teams were pretty evenly matched," Cloud said. "They were so determined not to lose. We were stronger in the second half; we held them to one corner after allowing six in the first half." The only negative aspect of the game for Penn was the absence of senior co-captain Amna Nawaz, who was out with a broken finger. She is expected to be in the lineup in the Quakers' game at Cornell on Sunday. "We played without one of our co-captains, but everyone else stepped up," Cloud said. "Everyone from the goalie to the forwards did their part." The game has lifted a weight off the Quakers' shoulders that had been plaguing them from the start of their season. "Yesterday we met for a team meeting to get everything out into the open," Battiste said. "We knew we could do it, and this time we believed it and that made all the difference." With their second Ivy contest of the season on Sunday, the victory couldn't have come at a better time for Penn. "This was the best thing that could happen to us," Battiste said. "Our confidence is stronger than ever. Now everyone knows what it feels like to win." The Quakers, who have not won back-to-back games since October 30 of last season, next face the Big Red, who are 1-0 in Ivy competition and 2-2 overall. "This gives us more momentum," Horshaw said. "We're fired up and ready to do it again." With the taste of hard-fought victory on their lips, the Quakers are not likely to forget the obstacles they had to overcome to earn their first win. "We had been envisioning it and feeling it, but it wasn't a reality," Cloud said. "Now it's real. They know what it feels like to win now, and they want more."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.