Another weekend, another set of growing pains for the young Hoya field hockey team. The 15-player squad, which includes eight freshmen, continued to struggle against elite competition as it fell to 0-8 after Friday’s 6-0 loss at Penn State and a 4-0 defeat Sunday at Cornell.

Despite the losses, Head Coach Tiffany Marsh saw many positives to take from the weekend. “Overall, we’re doing pretty well,” Marsh said. “We played really well on Friday against a really good team in Penn State. Overall, we’re making more progress.”

The Nittany Lions, the Hoyas’ fourth-ranked opponent, proved to be especially difficult, but the tough competition has helped prepare the team for big games down the road.

“Everybody we face in conference in the Big East is going to be a quality team, so I think scheduling quality teams outside of our conference is going to help us,” Marsh said. “We’ve already learned so much.”

Georgetown fell into an early hole against Penn State, surrendering five goals in a 10-minute period during the first half. Some halftime adjustments limited the Nittany Lions to only one second-half goal, but the Hoyas were unable to capitalize on either of their second-half scoring opportunities. Penn State sophomore goalkeeper Ali Meyes denied a behind-the-back shot by junior Kristen Volpe with a kick save and stopped a lined blast from senior Maggie Farrand to preserve the shutout.

The Hoya defense tightened up against the Big Red, allowing only four goals on 26 shots. The offense mustered five shots on goal, but again the Hoyas were unable to finish, and Abbi Horn’s hat trick proved enough to for a Big Red victory. Volpe led the Hoyas with two shots on net, and senior Ashton Hospodar, sophomore Micaela O’Toole and freshman Meggie Taylor each registered one attempt at goal.

Senior goalkeeper Dee Crovo played a spectacular weekend, stopping 18 of 24 shots on goal against a relentless Penn State attack and saving nine of 13 against Cornell.

“Dee stepped up for us,” Marsh said. “We worked on a lot of specific things for her during the week in practice, and it really helped her.”

The many scoring opportunities, particularly from Volpe, have Marsh optimistic about the team’s future. “[Volpe] has stepped up in a big role at center forward. She’s not afraid to shoot now, and she’s been doing really well,” Marsh said.

ost importantly, she said, Volpe continues to improve. “This spring helped her incredibly with her individual skills, and I think it helped her confidence as well,” Marsh said. “We’ll be looking for big things out of her the rest of the season.”

Despite their difficulties, the Hoyas hope to put their non-conference woes behind them as they near the midpoint of the season. Georgetown faces Rutgers in Friday’s 6 p.m. Big East opener in College Park, Md.

“I’m excited to start Big East play. Rutgers is going to be a tough game for us, but one we can prepare for really well this week,” Marsh said. “I’m excited to get into conference play and see where we stand.”

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