Penn may have the upper hand in football, but in field hockey it is Columbia who has reigned supreme between the two teams.
At Wien Stadium Friday night, an overtime goal by senior co-captain Tina Fernandez broke a scoreless duel, and catapulted the Lions (4-4, 1-2 Ivy) to their third victory in three years over the Quakers. The 1-0 thriller not only ended Columbia's two-game losing streak, but also gave the Lions their first Ivy League win of the season. Penn (3-8, 2-1 Ivy) was sent to its first Ivy League loss.
Penn outshot the Lions 9-1 in the first half, but the Columbia defense took advantage of stellar saves by Light Blue junior goalie Molly Starsia-Lasagna to keep the Quakers at bay. In the second half, Columbia's offense took over, making nine attempts to the Quakers' five. However, Penn's sophomore goalie Carrie Wilhelm, who has not allowed more than one goal in her past five games, blocked all Lion shots. After 70 minutes of regulation play, the score remained knotted at zero.
"Both teams played consistently throughout the game and had opportunities to take the lead," Fernandez said. "As the final seconds ran down on the clock, we were awarded a penalty corner, but the shot came inches away from ending the game in regulation time. The game was forced into overtime, and we knew that we had to step it up."
"There is always a sense of urgency in overtime play," she continued, "There are seven players on the field trying to do a job that normally takes eleven of us. One mistake or turnover in overtime usually determines the outcome of a game. Our main focus was just possession--simple and smart passes."
The Light Blue took quick command over Penn in the extra minutes, tallying four shots to none. With 9:30 remaining, Fernandez made her way into the shooting circle and grabbed hold of the ball. It rebounded off Wilhelm, but straight back to the Lions' defender, who promptly pushed it successfully through the posts for her fourth goal of the season.
"This game was a big win for us," Fernandez said. "We beat the No. 2 team in the Ivy League, got our first Ivy win of the season, ended a two-game losing streak, and evened our record to 4-4. This is the perfect opportunity to show everyone that we aren't just a mediocre team."
And for the first time in the team's six-year history, the Lions have managed to establish a career .500 record against an Ivy opponent--they have a 3-3 clip against the Quakers.
For a team which just a week ago was frustrated with dropping two straight decisions by one goal, the Lions' season might be turning around. The season continues against Hofstra on Wednesday at Baker Field.