After winning both of its games last weekend, the Yale field hockey team will travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to face Penn in its fifth conference matchup of the season.
Although Yale (4–9, 1–3 Ivy) does not have the most impressive record this season, its 2019 campaign has been characterized by a number of close defeats. However, after doubling their win total last weekend with wins against Dartmouth and Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs seem to have returned to their winning ways. Penn (5–8, 2–2), who finished third in the Ancient Eight last season, will look to reclaim a winning record in conference play after suffering an overtime defeat to Columbia last week.
“Penn is always a tough opponent to play,” forward Olivia Levieux ’21 said. “We’re focusing on speed and playing a good passing game. Attacking and defending as a whole team is going to be crucial on Saturday.”
Like Yale, Penn has faced a number of the nation’s top programs this season, including No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 10 Wake Forest. Although the Quakers suffered defeats in both games, these early-season matchups served as good preparation for Ivy League play.
On the offensive end, the Quakers are led by forwards Maddy Fagan and Madison Jiranek, who have tallied five goals each this season, tied for the most on the team. Veteran goalkeeper Ava Rosati, who garnered honorable mention All-Ivy honors last season, leads Penn’s defensive efforts.
For the Elis, captain Bridget Condie ’20 and Levieux have been the primary source of offensive production. In the Elis’ two wins last weekend, Condie and Levieux were responsible for five out of the eight goals scored. Midfielder Imogen Davies ’21 has also been a standout player for the Bulldogs. With nine assists and three goals, Davies is tied for the second-most points on the roster.
“Olivia and Bridget are obviously very solid, experienced players and they know how to get the job done,” midfielder Josie Jahng ’23 said. “They bring great energy and provide a lot of stability for the team through the center of the field on both sides of the ball.”
Last season, Yale fell 2–0 to Penn. In a closely contested game, the Elis nearly matched the Quakers in shots on goal with five in comparison to Penn’s six. After holding the Quakers scoreless in the first half, the Elis conceded two goals, one of which came with five minutes remaining in the contest. This weekend, Yale has an opportunity to use its momentum to avenge last season’s loss.
Yale and Penn have played four common opponents this season: Dartmouth, Cornell, Drexel and No. 13 Harvard. Although both suffered defeats at the hands of the Crimson, the Quakers beat Drexel and No. 24 Cornell — contests that the Elis lost by just one goal. In its game against Dartmouth, Penn needed extra time to seal a 4–3 victory. This narrow result comes in stark contrast with the Elis’ resounding 6–0 victory against the Big Green on Saturday.
“After getting a reminder of what winning feels like last weekend, and especially after a long period of losses, we as a team don’t want to lose that feeling,” defender Katie Pieterse ’22 said. “We know what it will take to keep us feeling confident, and good preparation this week during practice will only bolster that confidence.”
The Bulldogs matchup against Penn begins at noon and will be streaming live on ESPN+.
Drew Beckmen | email@example.com