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Junior Sydney Huang competes against Syracuse at Vagelos field on Sunday, Sept. 26. Credit: Diego Cárdenas

This weekend, Penn field hockey fell to Princeton (3-5) in the Red and Blue's first Ivy League game of the season Friday afternoon and Syracuse (6-2) during a two-game homestand with two top-20 teams. 

Friday afternoon, the Quakers (3-5) fell to No. 17 Princeton in their first Ivy League game of the season by a score of 5-1. 

The Tigers dominated the first half by finding the goal multiple times and ending it with a lead of 3-0. 

Coming back from halftime, Penn came back stronger and was able to keep Princeton at bay in the third quarter. At minute 35, junior forward/midfielder Sydney Huang scored the Quakers' only goal of the game — and her second goal of the season — with the help of a long pass from junior defender Elita Van Staden. 

In the fourth quarter, the Red and Blue gave up two more goals to Tiger junior Ali McCarthy, ending in a devastating first Ivy loss.

“I feel disappointed with the outcome, but I was proud of the team for working hard. I don't think the score reflected that,” Huang said, “Going into it and coming out, our energy was exactly where it should have been, going up against a rival like Princeton.”

Going into Sunday after that tough loss definitely wasn't easy on the players, but they were able to keep up with the Orange and keep the score close, 2-0. 

The Quakers came out strong in the first quarter with two shots, but unfortunately for the Red and Blue they were both blocked. Soon after, the Orange became more aggressive with four shots and one forced corner, all unsuccessful. Sophomore goalkeeper Sabien Paumen also started off strong by making two impressive saves. 

In the second quarter, the Red and Blue gave up three more corners and Paumen made two more saves, but in the 22nd minute, the Orange scored their first goal. This left Penn entering the second half with a 1-0 deficit. 

Penn clearly came back to the third quarter energized and ready to score. The Red and Blue  took three shots almost back to back in a span of about three minutes. One of those shots was on target by Huang, giving her team a chance to tie, but it was saved by the Syracuse goalkeeper.  

Unfortunately for the Quakers, Syracuse was able to find the cage and fully secure their win in minute 52 with a score of 2-0. 

Coming out of this game, Penn improved on its performance from Friday to make it tougher on its opponent and make it a closer game. The defense allowed four corners and three goals fewer than it did on Friday afternoon. 

“I think our defense played a bit better. Our goal coming into the game was eliminating corner opportunities, and we gave up five corners, and our goal was five or less corners," coach Colleen Fink said. “There were some very good things but we’re not going to score any games if we can’t produce any goals.” 

The Quakers still have things they want to work on for their upcoming games and they will be training hard at practice to get where they want to be. 

“I am happy with the saves that I made today, but I also have to work on the things that made the two goals possible for Syracuse,” Paumen said. “ I think we just have to work really hard this week at practice, but I think we definitely have a shot [next week].”

Next Saturday, Penn field hockey will face Harvard at 12 p.m. in an away game.