The Crimson suffered an 18-9 loss to the No. 3 Quakers (10-0, 4-0 Ivy) on Saturday at Harvard Stadium. The loss is Harvard’s second league defeat, while Penn remains undefeated in both in conference play and overall.
“It was encouraging that Penn is the No. 3 team in the country and we were able to play with them,” Flynn said. “The score was not reflective of the game. It was much more of a battle than what the score leads on to be.”
The Crimson held its own against the Quakers in the beginning of the game, keeping the score within a one-point margin for the first twenty minutes.
After Penn scored its first goal only two minutes into the contest, freshman Tyler Petropulos answered back for Harvard, scoring two unassisted goals to bring the Crimson to one of its only two leads of the game at 2-1.
Penn placed another ball in the back of the net to tie the game at two, but Petropulos helped Harvard again minutes later with an assist on Flynn’s first goal of the game. This marked the last time in the contest that the Crimson held an advantage.
Junior tri-captain Sara Flood tallied another goal for Harvard with twelve minutes remaining in the half, off of an assist from senior Kaitlin Martin, to bring the score to 4-4. But Penn held the Crimson scoreless for the remainder of play in the first half.
“We played with them for the first 20 minutes, and then we had a lapse,” Petropulos said.
Quakers Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro paired up to score Penn’s next five goals at the end of the first half. Spiro scored off a free position shot with less than a second left in the period, bringing the score to 9-4 at the halftime whistle.
Despite the late setback in the first half, Harvard continued to play at a solid pace to kick off the second frame. While the Quakers did claim the first goal only two minutes into the second half, Harvard took charge of the game and closed the gap to just three goals within ten minutes.
Flood, Flynn, and Martin each tallied an unassisted goal in the Crimson’s last run, keeping Penn scoreless for ten minutes in the second half. Martin’s goal was a breakaway that she picked up on the 40-yard line and ran in alone for the score. This streak brought the score to 10-7—the closest margin Harvard would see for the rest of the game.
Penn put up eight more goals in the remainder of the half, and kept the Crimson to only two tallies. Flynn added an unassisted goal and an assist, while Martin tallied the second goal.
The Quakers were able to nullify sophomore leading scorer Jess Halpern, keeping her marked and scoreless all game. Saturday’s contest ended Halpern’s 20-game scoring streak.
Freshman Kerry Clark stopped 11 shots in the net, helping Harvard make a stand against Penn in the beginning of the contest.
“[Clark] came up with some big saves in the beginning of the game that really helped us stay in the game,” Flynn said.
The Quakers have proven themselves worthy of the No. 3 ranking this season. The team has dominated on both offense and defense, averaging 11.62 goals per game and only allowing 4.50 goals per game.
The Crimson’s all-time series with Penn now stands at 18-18, with the Quakers taking the win for the last nine years in a row.
“We weren’t going to be intimidated based on their ranking,” Petropulos said. “We knew if we could stay in structure and stick to the game plan that we would be fine. But unfortunately we didn’t do some of the things we had to do, which is why it ended up being how it was.”