PHILADELPHIA The Penn field hockey team returns to action in its home opener on Wednesday, hosting Lafayette at 7:15 p.m. Penn leads the series 16-11-6 and has won the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 3-1 victory at Lafayette last season. The Quakers enter the game with a 0-4 record and are looking to end a five-game losing streak that dates back to last season. The Leopards are 2-2 on the season and coming off back-to-back wins against Drexel and Quinnipiac.
Penn hopes that a return to Franklin Field will also mark a return to the win column. Penn has not won since its last home game, against Brown on October 29 of last year. Head Coach Val Cloud feels that home-field advantage might be just what her team needs.
“The team did not mind being away, but being home is always nice,” Cloud said.
According to Cloud, the key to turning the season around lies on the defensive side of the ball.
“We have given up twice as many goals as we have scored. It is hard to win with those numbers. At the defensive end we have to tighten our play up and not allow opponents easy access into the circle,” she said.
Another area of focus for the Quakers is jumping out to a quick start. Penn has led only once this season, for a total of 16 minutes, and has been outscored in the first half by a 6-2 margin. Cloud feels that becoming more aggressive and advantageous will result in better results for her team.
“To end this streak, we need to take charge and be more productive with our opportunities,” Cloud said.
One Quaker who has been taking advantage of her opportunities is Margaretha Ehret. She is the team leader in goals with three as well as in points (7). Her 15 shots on goal are also a team high.
Lafayette is led by Maggie Condon, who has registered two goals and an assist in four games played. Laura Fabian has netted one goal to go with her team-high seven shots on goal. Alison Schoch leads the Leopards with two assists. Goalkeeper Courtney Dixon has earned the decision in all four games and posted a 1.94 goals against average.
A few notes for the game:Ehret’s 0.75 goals per game average is tied for 40th in the NCAA. Penn was 4-1 last year at Franklin Field. The last time Penn started a season 0-4 was 2002. Penn went on to win its next two games by a combined score of 9-0.