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fieldhockey-vs-yale-eli-vanstaden

Freshman defender Elita van Staden netted two penalties in Penn field hockey's back-and-forth win versus Yale.

Credit: Son Nguyen

Gritty. 

It's not just the huge orange mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers. It's also a perfect description of Penn field hockey. 

This weekend, the Quakers went 1-1, starting the weekend with a back-and-forth 4-2 win against Yale on Saturday before suffering a 1-0 defeat to Lafayette at home on Sunday. 

Saturday’s game against Yale (4-10, 1-4 Ivy) began as a fast-paced affair on both sides of the ball, with the Bulldogs striking just one minute into the first quarter. The goal came from sophomore midfielder Alissa Wong, who chipped the ball over senior goalie Ava Rosati after she came out of net to cut off Wong. 

Penn (6-9, 3-2) had many scoring chances throughout the quarter, and the first goal for the Red and Blue came at the 12:06 mark. For her first goal in a Penn uniform, sophomore midfielder Lily Clarkson put a rebound on goal off a penalty corner. 

Both Yale and Penn had more chances to put themselves on the board, but the defenses and goalies came up with several goal-saving efforts. The score would remain 1-1 until the Quakers were able to break free at 40:47, with freshman defender Elita van Staden putting in a beautiful penalty stroke to the middle of the net past the Yale goalie. 

The lead would not last for long, as nearly two minutes later, Yale scored the equalizer off of a deflection in front of the net that Rosati was unable to stop. 

With about nine minutes remaining, the Quakers notched the game-winning goal from an unlikely source: senior back Laura Shelton. Shelton drove through the Yale defense for a shot that found the bottom-left corner of the net.

Credit: Son Nguyen

“As a back, I feel like I don’t get a lot of opportunities to score ever, and I just went up because [junior back] Reese [Vogel] was taking a free hit outside the 25 [yard box], and I saw space so I just went for it, and I pushed it to the goal and it ended up going in,” Shelton said. “I knew we needed some play to push us forward and I figured anyone can do it, so why not?”

Penn put an exclamation mark on the game with another goal on a penalty from van Staden at 55:21. With this dagger, the Quakers secured the 4-2 win to improve to 3-2 in the Ivy League race. 

“For me, Penn field hockey this season has had its highs and its lows, but through all of it we showed character. Even before Yale, we were feeling down and unsure about what is next, and I think it showed a lot of character on our side to pull out a win against Yale,” van Staden said. “They were a good fight, and we just came out stronger, and I think that was because of our team's character.” 

Penn's game against Lafayette (11-6) on Sunday was a different story, with neither team able to score until the final minutes of play. The game was also physical, as the referees issued 10 cards between the teams, with the Red and Blue accounting for seven of them. 

On the defensive end, Rosati came up with three huge saves in the third quarter to keep the game scoreless, while on the offensive side, the Quakers outshot Lafayette, 7-4. However, the Leopards capitalized at the 58:54 mark, when senior Lisa van der Geest scored off a late corner that was swung wide. 

"We won one game this weekend and lost one game this weekend, so building off of that, we want to go as hard as we possibly can to win the last two games," van Staden said. "We said in the locker room that we still have a lot to play for, and we want to go 2-0 in the next two games.”

The Quakers will next be action in an Ivy League showdown against Brown on Nov. 2 in Providence, R.I.

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