Category Archives: Field Hockey

A memorable weekend for Penn sports

What a weekend.

From overtime heroics to last-second goals to penalty shootouts to routs of Princeton, these past couple of days simply had everything you can ask for if you’re a Penn sports fan. And best of all, it all came at home.

If you missed any of it, here’s a recap of Penn’s remarkable 5-0-1 record over the weekend, and what it means going forward as the fall season begins to wind down.



Despite record-breaking quarterback Billy Ragone being sidelined with a foot injury, the Quakers remained perfect in the Ivy League with a 28-17 win over Yale on Saturday at Franklin Field. Fifth-year senior Ryan Becker, who usually platoons with Ragone, completed 77 percent of his passes and threw for two touchdowns in the win, Penn’s seventh straight against Ivy competition. Running back Kyle Wilcox contributed 158 total yards and receiver Conner Scott caught a TD while eclipsing 1,000 career receiving yards.

Men's Soccer

Men’s Soccer

In one of the most dramatic games of the weekend, the Quakers beat Yale in overtime, 3-2, on the strength of a 94th-minute goal from senior Stephen Baker, who also assisted on Penn’s first two goals Saturday night at Rhodes Field. Goalkeeper Tyler Kinn allowed Penn to get to OT with a huge save in the final seconds of regulation. With a 3-0-1 record in the league, Penn now sits all alone in first place in the Ivies.

Women's Soccer

Women’s Soccer

It was the only game of the weekend that didn’t end in a Penn win – but it still produced one of the most thrilling moments. With time winding down and the Quakers about to drop a 1-0 decision to Yale on Saturday at Rhodes Field, Penn was awarded a penalty kick. And senior Kerry Scalora delivered, scoring the PK goal to tie the game at 1-1, which is how the score would remain through overtime. With a 3-1-1 Ivy record, the Quakers are tied for second place with Brown, behind only unbeaten Harvard.

Field Hockey

Field hockey

The new stadium continues to pay big dividends for the Quakers, who improved to 3-1-1 in the Ivy League and a whopping 10-1-4 overall with a 1-0 win over Yale in penalty strokes Saturday at Ellen Vagelos Field. Goalie Carly Sokach finished with 15 saves, tying a career-high, and led the way in what was the program’s first penalty stroke shootout since 2002. Penn currently sits just one game behind defending national champion Princeton, who they play, at home, in the regular-season finale on Nov. 9.



This one didn’t have the same kind of last-second heroics as some of the other games but the Friday night sweep of Princeton was just as satisfying. Alex Caldwell had 24 assists and four different Quakers had eight kills as Penn beat its rival, 25-19, 25-22, 25-20, at the Palestra on Friday night to even its Ivy League record at 4-4.

Sprint Football

Sprint football

Speaking of handily beating Princeton, Penn’s sprint football team hammered the Tigers, 72-29, under the lights of Franklin Field on Friday night, improving to 3-3 in the Collegiate Sprint Football League. The 72 points scored were the most in a single game since Penn put up 70 on Princeton in 2010. Quarterback Mike McCurdy led the way with 352 passing yards – the fourth most in Penn history – and four touchdowns.

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No More Cloudy Days At Penn

Although she announced her retirement on Dec. 13, longtime Penn field hockey coach Val Cloud will officially remain on staff until June. She’ll probably need all that time to clean out her office and return all the phone calls and e-mails she’s received over the past month.

“There are many, many memories in here,” Cloud said while sifting through old photos, plaques and certificates. “I have to decide what to keep and what to throw out.”

No matter what she decides, the memories will remain. For 30 long years, Cloud was part of the Penn field hockey program in all of its glory and frustration — the first 15 years as an assistant coach and the last 15 as head coach.

She has many fond recollections from her time as an assistant from 1980-1995 when Penn won seven Ivy League titles and went to five NCAA tournaments, but her proudest moment came in 2004 when the Quakers stunned Princeton in overtime in the final game of the season to capture a share of the Ivy championship.

To put that last moment in perspective, Princeton had won 10 straight Ivy League titles before 2004 and has won all five since then. The Tigers were — and still are — the undisputed queens of Ancient Eight field hockey.

But in ’04, Penn did the “unthinkable” as Cara Callahan scored an overtime goal with no time left on the clock to lift the Quakers to one of the most improbable wins in the history of the program. Cloud still vividly remembers a parent lifting her up after the game, as well as all “the chaos on the field.”

Beating Princeton, after all, was Cloud’s No. 1 goal every year – even if in some years it seemed impossible.

“We were fortunate in the 80s when we beat them more than they beat us,” Cloud said. “Since then, they’ve really had a dynasty. … They were the team to beat in the league, no question about that. But we know throughout history that dynasties are challenged and taken down. I think that’s everyone’s goal.”

Cloud won’t be around to see the dynasty crumble, if it ever does. But she’s OK with that. The 1969 graduate of Suny-Brockport knew it was time to say good-bye (though she doesn’t like the expression “calling it quits”).

“When the time comes, I think a lot of people in my age group know it’s time,” she said. “It’s like that internal clock in your head. I’m very much at peace with my decision.”

After she’s done cleaning out her office, Cloud’s plans will shift to spending more time with her three young grandchildren, planning her oldest daughter’s wedding and trying to master another sport.

“I joined a golf club and I hope to get my golf score up there,” she said. “I mean down there. It’s already up there!”


Filed under Field Hockey