The Elis could not overcome the Ivy League defending champion when they fell to No. 9 Penn (4–1, 2–0 Ivy), 12–6, on Saturday.

Attempts at a comeback, including a hat trick in the second half by midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15, were not enough to save Yale (2–3, 0–2 Ivy) from defeat.

“Penn was a strong and dynamic team, and the loss was very tough,” defender Kallie Parchman ’14 said in an email to the News.

Although students were still returning from spring recess, roughly 200 supporters showed up at Reese Stadium on the sunny St. Patrick’s Day afternoon to witness the clash of the two Ivy foes. The Elis had control of the game early in the first half. The match kicked off with attacker Sabine van der Linden’s ’14 successful draw, followed by Parchman’s saving the ground ball in its zone and rallying to the opposite zone. For the first eight minutes, the Bulldogs dominated the ball possession without allowing a single blind spot.

“We got off two quality shots in our first possession, but neither found the back of the net. But working the offense and getting those shots off was a major step forward for our team,” head coach Anne Phillips said.

However, the tide began to turn when the Quakers’ Meredith Cain scored the game’s first goal after a turnover.

Avallone said she knew that the match against Penn was going to be difficult.

“I think we are a stronger team and capable of beating any team in the country, but at this point because we are young and developing it is a process of figuring out how to execute the game,” she said.

Effective set plays seemed to be largely missing in the Bulldogs’ strategic arsenal until Avallone ignited a flicker of hope for the team in the 18th minute of play by scoring a goal shortly after her first goal was waved off. With more saves and turnovers, the first half ended 5–2 in Penn’s favor. Midfielder Reilly Foote ’15 added a goal two minutes before the end of the half. Although the Bulldogs demonstrated quick ball movement on the field, Penn — which, like Yale, is dominated by underclassman players — showed no signs of falling behind. The Bulldogs struggled to clear the ball resulting in extra possessions for the Quakers.

Defender Adrienne Tarver ’14 said Penn was very poised and made smart decisions.

About three minutes into the second half, Avallone penetrated the Quaker man-to-man defense and reeled off a goal to narrow the score to 5–3. Although her bold move provided a renewed thrust for the Elis to flip the match over to their favor, the Ivy defending champions promptly responded by pouring seven goals, including four consecutive ones within 10 minutes, into the Bulldogs’ net. Despite the last-minute goal set off by midfielder Christina Doherty’s ’15 assist from a turnover, Avallone’s spectacular effort was not nearly enough to turn the game around.

“We played hard for 60 minutes, which was one of our goals for the game, but unfortunately we had too many turnovers and gave Penn too many chances,” Parchman said.

Phillips said as the players focus on clearing the ball more effectively, they also need to attack out of their offensive schemes. She added that the players need to generate more shots and scoring opportunities offensively.

Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 and Caroline Crow ’12 each contributed one goal in the second half, bringing the Eli goal total to four for the half. But Penn ultimately came out six goals ahead after a fierce one-hour skirmish.

“We have played two top-10 nationally ranked teams,” Phillips said. “I think our young team has adjusted well to the speed of the game at the highest level, but we are still struggling to execute under pressure.”

She added that playing with poise under pressure is a skill that players develop through experience, and she actually sees improvement in this area.

“We need to be more effective offensively and defensively under pressure,” she said.

With now two losses in the Ivy League, the upcoming match against Harvard this weekend is even more important for the Elis’ standing in the Ancient Eight.

Avallone said that for the future the team needs to focus more on one-on-ones, helping each other out in transition, and have all players be a threat on attack at all times.

“The biggest challenge going into Harvard will be mentally moving past the last couple of games and starting fresh against a new team,” Tarver said.

However, before facing the Crimson in New Haven, the Bulldogs have to travel to Boston this Wednesday to face Boston University to make up a game that was rescheduled from late February.