The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Junior midfielder/defender Courtney Kenah covers a Dartmouth player during the matchup at Ellen Vagelos Field on Oct. 7. Credit: Grace Hu

With just a few games left this season, Penn field hockey has shown a lot of progress and development. Following last year’s 7-10 finish, there were a lot of questions about the Quakers and their prospects for this season.

So far, while not everything has gone their way, the Red and Blue have certainly made the most of their opportunities. At 6-7 on the season — and 4-1 in Ivy League play — with three games left, there’s a lot to be hopeful about with this team.

To start the season, Penn played three top-10 ranked opponents in North Carolina, Louisville, and Northwestern. Despite the difficulties such a tough opening schedule provides, coach Colleen Fink and the rest of the team welcomed the challenge.

“You know, there’s an argument to be made that, maybe if you play a different type of schedule, then that might breed more confidence,” Fink said. “I don’t think that is the life fabric of my team. I think my team would rather be tested and challenged, and learn and get better and grow.”

Her players agree. Senior forward Allison Kuzyk believes it’s “good to play good competition” so players can better themselves. “When they’re a highly ranked team, a highly competitive team, it is just a good challenge, especially early on in the season," she said. "It prepares us well for anything we’re going to have after.”

And prepare them it did. Penn has only dropped one of five games against Ivy opponents this season. With two conference matchups left, the team hopes to continue their in-conference success. 

Of course, a season is going to have its ups and downs. One of the biggest strengths that both Fink and players pointed out was the team's mentality.

“I think our mindset has been incredibly strong,” senior goalkeeper Frederique Wollaert said. “I think our mindset has been incredibly strong. I think we’re a really supportive group, supporting each other on and off the field, and we’re really helping each other to get better every day.”

Junior midfielder Meghan McGinley agrees. “We’ve been doing a lot of work on the mental side of things and approaching the game the same no matter who our opponent is. We still have a lot of tough games to go, but I think that having this good mindset is really valuable going into the rest of our season.”

On the flip side, Fink and her players pointed out that corners and converting scoring chances have been issues they’ve been working on throughout the season. But for the little issues, the Quakers try to target them early so they don’t become a long-term problem. 

“We made a list of what we learned from each game, and we tried to come up with a few things that we should work on from that game,” Kuzyk said. “So just focusing on weaknesses from one game and trying to improve them for the next one, so that there’s not something that’s a lingering weakness.”

“I think that every team has their strengths and weaknesses,” McGinley added. “We do watch film on other people, but we also watch it on ourselves. We don’t get bogged down in the nitty gritty mistakes.”

For the rest of this season, the Red and Blue looks to continue to build upon their strengths while taking things one game at a time.

“I think the focus right now is [to] continue to tap into the things that have made us successful so far,” Fink said. She also knows “that other teams are scouting us, other teams are going to identify what those things are and try to take those things off the table.”

“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Wollaert said. “But I think it’s definitely good to think about all the lessons we’ve learned throughout the season. … I think just being aware of our strengths and using those to capitalize on big opportunities is something that I want to keep in mind.”

As for their chances on an Ivy League title, they all seem to be very confident, as they should be given the team's strong play against Ivy competition this season. 

“I have a lot of confidence in this team and this coaching staff,” said McGinley, “and I think that our team this year is really special. We’ve seen a lot of people being able to contribute. We still have a lot of work to do, but ultimately [a title] is the goal and I’m really excited to see what we can do.”