Despite auspicious early-season performances from the Red, the field hockey team faltered against the University of Pennsylvania, who wore the crown of victory this Saturday. With three second-half tallies from their opposition, the Red field hockey team surrendered its first Ivy League game of the season to the Quakers in a 5-2 contest.
The Quakers (1-5, 1-0) were the first to turn on the offensive engine, notching a quick goal in the eighth minute of the game. The Red (3-1, 0-1), however, wouldn’t let their Ivy League foe clinch an advantage so easily.
In a well-coordinated play, junior midfielder Taylor Gladd passed the ball from the bottom of the circle to meet freshman midfielder Bridget Mahoney’s stick. Sophomore Claire Jones was in the vicinity to receive the next pass, gracefully deflecting it to senior forward Grace Royer who executed the Red’s first goal and tied up the scoreboard.
Just 13 seconds into the second quarter, Royer, assisted again by Jones, found the back of the net again, widening the scoring gap to a one goal advantage for the Red.
The Red let their guard down too quickly, though. The Quakers sneaked a goal into the Red’s net before the halftime whistle, leaving the game tied at 2-2.
A second-half defensive collapse from the Red set the precedent for the rest of the match, and sealed the game’s fate: “horribly wrong.”
“We got it horribly wrong all the way throughout the game,” head coach Andrew Smith said. “We weren’t switched on, we weren’t ready to play, we were caught napping at every opportunity and we had some serious breakdowns in terms of our defensive structure because of individual effort.”
The Quakers took advantage of the Red’s breakdown, firing off 7 shots, which materialized into 2 third quarter goals. Offensively, the Red could only muster up 3 more shots for the day, all of which remained futile.
A 4-2 lead proved insufficient for the Quakers, and Penn’s Elita van Staden added insult to injury with a fourth quarter goal. The dejected Red left the field with a dispiriting 5-2 loss to open up their Ivy League play.
“We lost the game,” Smith said. “We felt like we beat ourselves. We didn’t work hard, we didn’t play smart, we didn’t play to our game plan. We all have a shared responsibility for that.”
Despite the score, the Quakers held a firm offensive edge with thirteen shots on goal versus the Red’s measly 6. The Quakers also maintained a 14-6 edge in penalty corners.
The Red’s strength lies in their effort, their grit and their ability to outwork other teams — this unique strength eluded them against the Quakers, much to the disappointment of coach Smith.
“If we outwork the opposition, we have a good chance of winning any game,” Smith said. “If we allow the opposition to outwork us, we are going to lose every game. That is what we did today. We got outworked. And that to me is very unsatisfactory.”
The loss is an ugly blemish on their otherwise winning season. Yet, such a blemish will serve as a motivator, a learning opportunity and a chance to improve.
“Practice will be very interesting,” Smith said. “We have a long list of things that we need to fix. It has nothing to do with the opposition, but all to do with ourselves.”
The Red’s next face off will be against the Colgate Raiders this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The showdown will take place in Hamilton, N.Y., where they hope to have a more favorable result.