Senior Day is fast approaching for Penn field hockey at Ellen Vagelos Field, presenting the opportunity for the squad to send off its six seniors and jump above .500 on the season.
Former Penn star Jasmine Cole will also face the Quakers this weekend, but she will not exactly be participating in the sendoff for the Penn seniors.
Mainly because she will be playing for the other team.
On Saturday, Penn (7-7, 2-3 Ivy) will host Brown on Saturday in the Quaker's Senior Day game before traveling to Rutgers to face the Scarlet Knights and Cole, the Quakers' leading scorer from a year ago.
Coming off a 2-1 victory over Villanova, the Quakers have now won three straight contests — after having dropped four straight — and have built momentum coming into Senior Day.
“The team always plays with a certain level of motivation for the seniors,” coach Colleen Fink said. “The senior class has performed very well, we have a lot of key contributors, and it’s a unique and experienced group.”
The senior class was Fink's first recruiting class at Penn and the squad has gone from near the bottom of the Ivy League to stronger finishes in recent years. The Quakers' six seniors — Alex Iqbal, MaryRose Croddick, Katherine Cook, Emily Corcoran, Helene Caniglia and Allison Weisenfels — have been key contributors to the team, particularly this season.
Iqbal has been a major facilitator for the offense and Croddick has had a big role of defense, all while Corcoran is second on the team in scoring and Weisenfels is the team's starting goalkeeper.
When Brown (9-5, 1-4) comes to Vagelos Field on Saturday, Penn's fans will have a chance to honor the group of seniors that has helped the program take great strides over the last few years. It will also be a chance for the Red and Blue to get to .500 within the Ancient Eight.
However, after a second-place finish in the Ivy League last season, the Quakers have struggled to maintain the same level of play after losing 10 members of last year’s team.
Last year, goalie Carly Sokach finished second in the Ivy League in both save percentage and goals-allowed average. This year, Weisenfels — who has been tasked with replacing Sokach after never playing goalie before this year — has the second-lowest save percentage in the Ivy League.
But the player the Quakers arguably miss most is Cole, their leading scorer in 2013. Cole transferred to Rutgers (7-9) prior to this season.
Fortunately, freshman Alexa Hoover has filled the void left by Cole, pacing the team with 13 goals thus far. Together with senior Emily Corcoran — who was named to the National Field Hockey Association Division I Senior Game — the Quakers stand second in the Ivy League in goals scored, as they did last season with Cole.
Fink doesn’t think playing against a former teammate will be a new phenomenon for players.
“Fortunately, these girls have experience in that type of situation,” Fink said. “They play against their high school teammates ... they’re familiar with facing friends. Physically, I think they’ll handle it perfectly fine.”
What certainly was a challenge for this season’s Penn squad was dealing with its midseason losing streak, but Fink is pleased with how her team has persevered.
“That four game streak was a tough time for us, and we had a choice to make,” she said.
“We could either surrender the rest of the season and just pull along as is, or we could redefine our goals, make the most of it and turn the losing streak into a winning streak. It’s the path this team chose to take, and I’m proud of them for choosing that because it isn’t easy.”
The article originally stated that Penn hosted Rutgers on Saturday. The Quakers host Brown on Saturday before traveling to Rutgers. The DP regrets this error.Comments powered by Disqus
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