Drexel and Penn share claims to University City, bus services, and 33rd Street, but the battle for field hockey superiority was won by the Quakers.
Coming off of a 3-0 loss at No. 16 Iowa (7-1) just two days prior, the Quakers were able to come out with an energetic performance to beat their next-door neighbors 2-1.
The loss to the Hawkeyes, despite the score, was much tighter than the stat sheet indicates. Penn's defense held tough for the majority of the game, allowing all of Iowa's goals in the final 13 minutes.
Although the Quakers (3-3) were outshot 18-5, they showed again they could hang until the very end with ranked opponents. Junior goalie Ava Rosati had a strong performance between the pipes with six saves, but Quakers' offense was not able to match it, however, failing to convert any of the team's six corners.
However, the Red and Blue would shake off the loss in a thriller just two days later.
“For them to fly home after the [Iowa] game, have a hard practice yesterday, and get a W today ... to be able to pull out a win under those circumstances speaks to their resilience,” coach Colleen Fink said.
The Quakers started Sunday's game with a bang, earning a penalty corner from senior Rachel Mirkin's shot in the first minute of play, but ultimately could not find the back of the net.
For much of the first half, play went back and forth between the two teams. But the Dragons (4-3) struck in the 23rd minute, when they took a penalty corner that was initially stopped by the Red and Blue defense. A quick Penn turnover allowed Drexel to regain possession and put the ball past Rosati.
The Quakers fought to overcome the deficit and succeeded in converting on a set play five minutes before the end of the half. A penalty corner from midfielder Lily Clarkson was passed to senior defender Paige Meily, who left it to junior center midfielder Alexa Schneck to send over to the far post, where Mirkin was able to tap the ball in to tie the game.
Just two minutes later, Penn took the lead. Freshman midfielder Madison Jiranek was in the midst of creating a chance on goal before being fouled by a Drexel defender, giving the Quakers a penalty stroke. Meily stepped up to the line to take the shot and neatly put away the first goal of her career to put Penn up 2-1.
Although without any goals, the second half of the game belonged to the Quakers, who maintained the momentum from their two goals late in the first half. Rosati’s two saves in the second half ensured a Quaker victory, despite Drexel pulling its goalie for an extra player with a few minutes to play.
“I think today was a good step in the right direction in terms of our offensive structure and our finishing,” Fink said. “I think the elephant in the room right now — well, it’s not an elephant because it’s been highlighted every time — is our attacking corners and being able to finish. The finishing skill has been the last to come and I think we’re knocking on the door."
This week would be a good time to open that door. On Saturday, September 22, the Quakers will travel to Ithaca to take on Cornell for their first Ivy match of the season. While an Ivy Championship is the more sought-after title, for now, the Quakers can be content being the champions of University City.
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