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Senior Captain Gracyn Banks hits the ball down the field in the game versus Drexel Friday afternoon, September 10th. Credit: Samantha Turner

As the saying goes, third time's the charm. 

That was especially true for Penn field hockey Friday afternoon, as the Quakers (1-2-0) defeated Drexel (1-4-0) 5-3 to secure the team's first win of the season.

After losses against two top-five ranked opponents, including reigning national champions University of North Carolina, the Quakers found more success against unranked Drexel. 

Though the first quarter was mostly defensive, a pair of underclassmen broke open the game for the Red and Blue. Sophomore forward Allison Kuzyk scored a close-range goal off an assist from charging freshman midfielder Sophie Friedman in the 12th minute. Kuzyk tallied her second goal of the young season with the strike.

Credit: Nicholas Fernandez

Freshman Sophie Freedman fights for the ball against two Drexel players during Friday's game.

The Quakers didn’t take long to find the net again, as senior captain Gracyn Banks scored less than two minutes later off a penalty corner. Banks would later score her second goal of the game in the third quarter when her shot ricocheted off a Drexel defender's stick and into the back of the cage. 

“We really executed what we’ve been working on in practice with redirecting and trying to track on angles, so I thought we came out strong and it went really well,” Banks said.

Senior midfielder Ashley Wetzel scored an unassisted goal early in the third quarter, the Red and Blue's only unassisted goal of the afternoon.

After the scoring flurry to finish the first quarter, both sides were able to detain the other, and the second quarter featured strong defensive play and no goals scored.

The Dragons made a push early in the third, getting two shots on goal off long through balls. Unfortunately for Drexel, however, the team was unable to convert on both attempts, missing short left and wide right. 

Finally able to cash in on the offensive side, Drexel found the back of the cage later in the quarter to trim the Quakers’ lead to to 3-1. 

In the fourth quarter, after Banks’ second goal, junior forward Julia Russo scored on a scramble in front of the cage to make the score 5-1, padding the Quakers' lead. 

Credit: Samantha Turner Junior Julia Russo scores unassisted during a scramble at the goal during the 3rd quarter against Drexel on September 10th.

In what initially seemed to be 'garbage time,' the Dragons quickly scored two goals late in the fourth to trim the Quakers’ lead to two. Drexel nearly scored a fourth time, giving the Red and Blue a run for their money late and spoiling what had to that point been a solid defensive performance. 

“The big takeaway was the game management piece. Clearly, that last quarter should not have been that way, but that’s on me,” coach Colleen Fink said. “We haven’t really gotten to that point yet as a team, in terms of our training and how we spend our time.”

Despite the late run by Drexel, sophomore goalkeeper Sabien Paumen recorded a career-high eight saves in the Quaker’s victory. Coach Fink singled out Paumen as a standout defender in the contest. 

“We need to work on defensive organization as a whole,” Coach Fink said. “Everyone on our team individually is a good defender, but we’re not playing team defense right now… Individual defense isn’t going to cut it.”

The Red and Blue were supported in the stands by a majority of the Penn women’s lacrosse team, who cheered on their fellow stick-wielders enthusiastically. Nearly every member of the women’s soccer team showed their support as well, in addition to many students and fans who were watching the team at home for the first time in almost two years. 

With the win, the Quakers improve their all-time record against the Quakers to 12-6. Notably, this is Penn’s sixth consecutive victory against Drexel, not having lost a matchup since 2010, Fink’s first year at the helm. 

“We always want to show that we can dominate Philly,” Banks said. 

Up next, Penn will look to further the team's claim to Philadelphia bragging rights as it competes at Villanova (2-2) on Sunday before returning to Vagelos Field on Friday for a showdown against Saint Joseph’s (2-2).