Penn field hockey played its final game of the season on Sunday as the Quakers headed to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens. After wrapping up its conference season, and securing the fourth seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament — to be hosted by Harvard this weekend — Penn was defeated 4-3.
The Blue Hens (8-9) struck first and snagged the lead just a little over five minutes into the game. But it didn't take long before the Quakers (7-9, 5-2 Ivy) would even the score at one apiece with a goal from sophomore forward Livia Loozen.
Senior forward Allison Kuzyk knocked in two goals of her own to extend her season goal total to 13, but with a strong Delaware offense beating on Penn's defense, the final score tipped in favor of the Blue Hens.
Now, with all the dust settled, Penn finds itself right where it did last year: finishing the season with more losses than wins. Despite ending with a near exact overall record from last season, the team improved from 4-3 to 5-2 in conference play, and has confidence as it prepares for the Ivy League Tournament.
Looking back on the season, there was a great jump in production from a couple of specific players on the team. With star defender Gracyn Banks leaving, coach Colleen Fink looked towards Kuzyk to replace her scoring. Kuzyk certainly succeeded, more than doubling her point total from last season to 27 total points this year. Her performance puts her in the top three of several Ivy League statistical categories, and her 27 points is the most for a Quaker since Alexa Hoover in 2017.
Besides the star senior, several other players improved their games from their last time out as well. Sophomore forward Livia Loozen also doubled her point production from 2022, while junior midfielder/defender Kourtney Kenah shone as more of a facilitator this season. After leading her team in scoring last year, Kenah transitioned to being more of a creator, leading the team in assists.
Defensively, one athlete stands alone as the team's linchpin: senior goalkeeper Frederique Wollaert. As one of the top five goalies in the Ivy League in saves, goals-against average, and saves per game, the senior has put together an immensely impressive season. The defense she has provided for the past two seasons has been a large part of the Quaker’s recent success, and will be needed if the Quakers have any hope of advancing in the postseason.
These performances earned Kuzyk and Wollaert first-team All-Ivy Selections, Kenah an honorable mention All-Ivy, and helped four other Quakers receive Ivy honors for their regular season dominance. Specifically, the Quakers had three midfielders, sophomore Julia Ryan, junior Sophie Freedman, and junior Kylie Wall, plus senior forward Lis Zandbergen receive either second-team or honorable mention All-Ivy recognition.
While the plethora of accolades will help this team leave their mark in Penn program records, the real place this team can create a legacy is in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, which will begin this Friday when the team faces Harvard (13-3, 7-0) in the semifinals.
After losing to the Crimson last week, the Quakers currently boast a seven-game losing skid against Harvard. Undefeated in Ivy play, Harvard has been a juggernaut all season and boasts the newly-crowned Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. All of this makes Harvard a daunting foe for the Quakers, who are looking to parlay a strong Ivy League season into taking home the first-ever Ivy League Tournament Championship.