Penn field hockey probably wouldn’t describe its fall break as restful. However, it was victorious.
This weekend, the Red and Blue added two overtime wins to their record, taking down Dartmouth at home on Saturday and Drexel on the road on Sunday.
Coming off of a split weekend in Boston where the Quakers (5-6, 2-1 Ivy) lost to Harvard, they entered the weekend looking to notch another win against Dartmouth (3-8, 0-3). They did just that in a back-and-forth affair.
On Saturday, both teams came out with high energy. While the first quarter saw no scoring, the Big Green capitalized on a penalty to gain an initial lead. Shortly after, sophomore forward Maddy Fagan intercepted a pass from the corner and passed to freshman midfielder Meghan Ward for her first collegiate goal to equalize the game entering halftime.
Fagan stepped up again when play resumed, this time putting the ball in the back of the net to give the Red and Blue a 2-1 lead. Dartmouth countered with two strong offensive plays in the third quarter, retaking the lead with two consecutive goals. At the end of the third, Fagan helped tie up the game, scoring again to bring the game to 3-3 going into the last quarter. After a couple of failed conversions from both sides in the fourth quarter, the two teams entered overtime play.
Ward scored her second collegiate goal and second of the day — off an assist from senior forward Alexa Schneck — to end the game, 4-3.
“Going into overtime, we kind of had been feeling the entire game that we were the better team, and we were getting a lot of opportunities," Ward said. "But they were always coming back and getting the next goal, so we were pretty confident that we were going to be able to finish the job."
While the high intensity matchup with Dartmouth left the Red and Blue fatigued, they stayed focused on finishing off the weekend on a high note.
“There’s no doubt that we were tired. Dartmouth was really good, it was very back and forth, and going into overtime is tiring," Ward said. "But I think having an overtime victory can really propel a team forward, because it gives you a lot of momentum and confidence going into the next game."
The Red and Blue had a much less eventful first half against the Dragons. While the game was also back-and-forth — with both teams putting up a fair number of shots on goal — neither side scored by halftime.
The Quakers then hit the reset button and came back with guns blazing in the second half.
“We talked a lot about how to get better quality circle entries. We talked a lot about how to capitalize on the fact that we had been on our attacking end, I think for the majority of the first half," coach Colleen Fink said. "But we just weren’t able to get the quality shots off."
While the Dragons (3-9) were able to gain a quick 1-0 second-half lead off of a penalty conversion, yet another Fagan shot hit the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 before the fourth quarter. From there, neither side was able to score, sending the second Red and Blue game of the weekend into overtime.
After Penn earned a free shot shortly into overtime, freshman defender Elita Van Staden was subbed into the game to take the shot.
“[Van Staden] is quite strong on the penalty stroke as you saw," Fink said. "She was on the sidelines, but we have a ton of confidence in her ability to score on that, so putting her in was pretty much a no brainer."
Van Staden's goal ended the game at 2-1 to give the Quakers their second win of the weekend. The goal was also the freshman’s second successful penalty stroke this season.
The two overtime wins required a great deal of tenacity from the Red and Blue, who have had a fairly tumultuous season so far.
“I think they displayed a lot of resilience. Fall break can be a tricky time. You feel like you should be having this restful, luxurious, spa retreat, and it’s not. You have a lot of work, you still have to train very hard, so I think they just displayed a ton of resilience during that period of time,” Fink said. “The season’s had its ups and downs and we’ve had some frustrating moments, and the fact that they’re capable of rising above the frustration and being able to stay together and capitalize off the resilience that they've built through the season has been critical.”
Next week, the Quakers will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they face off against Columbia (5-6, 1-2) in New York on Friday.
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