It was an afternoon of many hugs and tears as Penn field hockey closed out its season, albeit in a losing effort.
In a 3-1 loss against No. 8 Princeton, the eventual Ivy League champions, the team honored seniors Alexa Murray, Alexa Schneck, Ava Rosati, and Laura Shelton as they played their final ever game at Ellen Vagelos Field. The group has led the Red and Blue to 36 wins over four years with the team.
“I think over the past four years the team has grown tremendously. I’ve had a lot of personal growth too, and I don’t think I’d be the same person if I wasn’t here,” Schneck said with tears in her eyes. “As the time has gone on our goals have gotten larger and larger, and I think that the team is more than capable of achieving them and winning the Ivy League Championship, being a top-15 team. Our senior class has definitely had a positive impact on the program.”
The game itself got off to a quick start, as goalkeeper Rosati swiftly blocked a penalty stroke from Princeton (13-4, 7-0 Ivy) to keep the game at 0-0. The two teams continued to battle on the field until freshman Meghan Ward scored a goal from a corner to put the Quakers (7-10, 4-3) on top 1-0, tipping the ball in near the goalpost and sending the crowd into a roar. She would lead the team with three shots throughout the contest.
The lead was short lived, however, as the Tigers managed to tie the game at 1-1 just a minute later, also off a corner. The score remained the same until the second period, and the six total shots from both teams combined would be the most out of all four periods.
Both the Tigers and the Quakers would continue going for goal until Princeton finally broke the tie in the third period, going up 2-1. The Orange and Black would continue to dominate offensively for the rest of the game and the Quakers couldn’t manage to solve their defense, shooting only twice throughout the second half.
In the final minute of the match, the Tigers iced the win and their season with another goal, giving them a two-goal cushion at 3-1. They would finish with the best record in the Ivy League and celebrated their title as time ran out.
Although the Quakers only picked up seven wins on the year, four of them came in Ivy League play. Still, the team continues to set higher and higher goals for itself every year, and believes it all comes down to hard work and determination.
“I really think this team was special," Schneck said. “We’ve all gotten along really well and [the group of seniors] built a close culture on the team, and I think that really showed on the field. Our passes, our shots — everything was just so much easier to get a flow."
“Every year we’ve gotten closer to achieving, the team has gotten better, and the program has gotten stronger, and you see that from the quality of play,” Murray said, also playing her last game as a Quaker. “We’re a program on the rise, and the cookie didn’t crumble in our favor as often as we would’ve liked, but this was a special team. The athlete experience is very unique, and there’s a lot of growth that comes with that. I’ll carry that for the rest of my life.”
The season might be ending, but the field hockey team is nowhere near finished. With a new core and increasingly more drive, the Quakers are hoping for more success in the coming years.