Who knew Quakers could sneak by lions and outfly owls?
Penn field hockey (8-7, 4-2 Ivy) has won its last five of six games, taking on a winning record after a 1-0 road victory over the Columbia Lions (8-8, 1-5) on Friday and a 2-0 home win against the Temple Owls (8-10) on Sunday.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sabien Paumen kept everything out of the net, saving all nine shots on goal to secure two shut-out victories for the Red and Blue. Seniors Gracyn Banks and Maddy Fagan scored their first goals of the season to put the Quakers ahead in both games.
The Quakers and the Lions played an evenly-matched first quarter, each team with three shots. With seven seconds left on the clock, Penn’s captain Banks scored on the last shot of the quarter. The game-winning goal — also Banks’ first goal of the season — hit the top right of the cage and put the Quakers up 1-0.
The defense was firing on all cylinders, and Penn held off Columbia for the rest of the game. Despite the 10 shots fired by the Lions in the remaining three quarters, Paumen and the backline didn’t let anything through. The Quakers earned their fourth Ivy League win of the season, as they head back home for their final two games against Temple and Dartmouth.
“I feel like we’ve been playing very solid for the entire season," coach Colleen Fink said. "I think we played some tough games that resulted in some tough losses, but I think that those tough teams that we played early on really prepared us."
Penn's Philadelphia neighbor, Temple, was no match for Penn’s strong backline on Sunday afternoon on Ellen Vagelos Field.
Coming off an overtime win against No. 20 UConn on Friday at home, Temple rolled in with confidence, outshooting Penn 7-6. Yet, the Quakers were on target more frequently than the Owls, with five of their six shots on goal compared to Temple’s three of seven.
The game started off slow with not much action in the first quarter besides two shots from Temple in the last minute.
Early in the second quarter, Banks and Julia Russo built up pressure on the Temple goalkeeper with back-to-back shots, eventually leading to a Penn goal in the 28th minute. With the help of Meghan Ward, Allison Kuzyk, and a deflection off the Temple keeper, Fagan sent the ball into the goal for her first of the season.
“Maddy generates a lot from her presence on the field. She’s incredibly fast and awesome on the press. She really understands team defense and whether it's through scoring goals or setting up plays, she’s instrumental and contributes in a variety of ways,” coach Fink said.
Penn’s Paumen had several critical saves to keep the Owls’ score blank, most notably a sliding save in the 34th minute. A few minutes later, the Quaker defense connected with Ward who pushed across the field, sending a quick pass across to Fagan who scored her second goal of the game and the season.
“Part of the reason we were so successful today is we’ve been working on putting our team first, especially on the forward line, working on our two vs. one skills and really utilizing the pass at the end and the selfless run a lot. It’s been working,” Fagan said.
The Owls only had one more good look in the last 20 minutes of the game, unable to connect to get on the scoreboard. The Quakers held on to a 2-0 victory.
“We should focus on being a bit more creative on our passing and joining," coach Fink said. "I think our defense has played incredibly strong these last couple games, and I think we want to continue building on our defensive penalty corner unit. We also want to convert on our attacking penalty corner unit.”
The Quakers look forward to their last game of the season and Senior Day against Dartmouth on Saturday at 12 p.m. on Ellen Vagelos Field.