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Credit: Varun Sudunagunta

Penn field hockey came to play this weekend. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

The Quakers earned a weekend split in upstate New York, but the results don't tell the whole story. The Quakers were able to hold off Cornell in their Ivy opener on Saturday, winning 1-0, but the Red and Blue lost in a heartbreaking shootout against No. 12 Syracuse the next day, 2-1. 

Eager to make impact in the first conference game of the season, the Red and Blue (4-4, 1-0 Ivy) put pressure on the Big Red (1-6, 0-1) in the first half, ripping 10 shots to Cornell’s two. In the eighth minute of the game, junior midfielder Alexa Schneck received a one-time pass from senior midfielder Kelsey Mendell in the circle. Schneck proceeded to bury the ball in the right corner to give the Quakers a goal that would turn out to be the game winner. 

Penn kept the offensive pressure on in the second half, but Cornell’s keeper Maddie Henry was strong in goal. Penn tallied 13 shots throughout the game, compared to Cornell’s seven. That being said, Penn junior goalkeeper Ava Rosati had six key saves for the Quakers and provided an important shutout for the team. 

Schneck was content with the win, but believes the team still has work to do going forward. 

“For our Ivy opener, a win is a win. But, we definitely cannot settle after one goal. We got to experience the intensity of Ivy play which is something we needed to adjust to moving forward,” Schneck said. 

Sunday, the Quakers were on the road again to face another tough ACC opponent. Unfortunately, Syracuse (6-3) was able to edge out Penn in penalty strokes after two overtime periods could not produce a winner. 

The game began in a stalemate, with battles for possession occurring throughout the midfield. But the Quakers were able to strike first in the 24th minute, when freshman forward Julia Russo notched the first goal of her career after gaining possession of it at the top right of the crease.

Syracuse came out hot in the second half, firing off eight shots to Penn’s three. In fact, they started the half with three shots in two minutes. The Orange continued to put the pressure on, and eventually in the 46th minute, a shot by Chiara Gutsche barely slipped by Rosati to tie the game. Neither team was able to break the deadlock despite constant pressure throughout the rest of the second half.

In the first overtime, Russo had one shot go wide for the Quakers. Syracuse kept its offensive force high, taking three shots but still not finding the back of the net. The second overtime looked virtually the same, with Penn recording one shot and Syracuse taking four. Still, no one could seem to squeeze out a goal. 

The game went to penalty strokes, where Syracuse made all four of its shots to win the game.

Even though the Quakers lost, Schneck made it clear she is pleased with how the Quakers held their own against a nationally ranked team. 

“It was an intense game, and it was unfortunate that we lost in shootouts. I think we played with great intensity and we need to maintain that intensity throughout practice this week as we move towards our Harvard game on Saturday,” Schneck said. 

The Red and Blue can keep their heads high after their impressive performance this past weekend, but they know they have work to do before Harvard comes to Ellen Vagelos field next Saturday at noon.