It’s going to be a bittersweet ending this weekend for Penn field hockey.
On Saturday, the Quakers will compete on home turf against No. 12 Princeton for their final game of the season. Last year, the Quaker’s (9-7, 4-2 Ivy) season finale ended with a tough loss against the Tigers (10-6, 6-0) in a 6-1 blowout. This year, the team is focusing on winning their final game so that Princeton is forced to share the Ivy title with Harvard.
“Even though they get the trophy on our field, we’ll have won,” senior Alexa Hoover said on the competition. “We’re just focusing on being intense with everything we do.”
This is also an important game for the Quaker seniors, as many alumni will be in attendance to watch them play their final game this homecoming weekend.
Despite the pressure of a packed house on home turf, Saturday’s game will be somewhat of a rite of passage, in that this will be the beginning of a huge transition for Penn field hockey. Senior forward Gina Guccione alongside Hoover have both been trying to shape the team in preparation for the next season. Hoover, whose 67 career goals are a school record, has had an all-star career within the program and has been evolving her game this season to get the team ready for her departure.
“I think the past three years was a lot of me focusing on my competitive nature and getting the ball in the net. This year it’s been a lot of what can I do to set up my team this year, and what can I do to help them when Gina and I aren’t on the frontline.”
As for the sentimentality, Guccione left her heart out on the field this year.
“My coach told me last spring to not have any regrets your senior year,” reflected Guccione. “You don’t want to end your career knowing you could’ve done a little more.”
Though there is not much at stake in the game for Penn field hockey this weekend, leaving the season with a triumphant win will be a memorable way to end the season and the careers of the seniors on the team. To put it in the words of Hoover:
“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”