PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team begins its 2013 season on Friday night when it travels to Bethlehem, Pa. for a 6 p.m. faceoff against Lehigh. Head coach Colleen Fink enters her fourth season at the helm of the program, and the Quakers have improved every season since her first back in 2010.
The 2012 season was the program's best under Fink's tutelage, as the Quakers finished 9-8 overall for their first winning season since 2006. In addition, Penn posted a 3-4 record in Ivy League play for its best conference record since 2008, and tied Cornell for fourth place in the standings. Individually, the Red and Blue had four players named to the All-Ivy squad, their highest total since 2005.
Penn heads into the 2013 season behind the leadership of co-captains Julie Tahan and Alex Iqbal. Tahan brings veteran leadership to the squad, as she has been a captain since the spring semester of her sophomore season. Iqbal, who is returning for her junior season after missing all of the 2012 campaign due to injury, enters her first full year as co-captain after also being named captain during the spring of her sophomore year.
In addition to Tahan -- who started all 17 games and tied for the team lead with eight goals -- and Iqbal, the Quakers will have a lush of offensive talent heading into Friday night's contest at the Mountain Hawks. Elizabeth Hitti will look to provide more offensive production in her sophomore campaign after finishing her rookie year third on the squad with 18 points and tied for second with six goals. Sunny Stirewalt (tied for first with eight goals) and Amelia Cohen (tied for second with six goals) will also be in the offensive mix.
Penn has met Lehigh 12 times, and leads the all-time series 10-1-1. Last season's matchup ended in a 5-2 victory for the Quakers. Stirewalt led the charge with a pair of goals while Hitti notched a goal and an assist in her first collegiate game.
Action will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday at Lehigh, and live stats will be availale on the Mountain Hawks' athletic website.