Coming into yesterday’s matchup at Penn, Yale’s field hockey team had dropped five consecutive games to the Quakers.
Yet knowing that just one game separated them from Ivy-leader Princeton, the Bulldogs were determined to avert yet another loss to Penn that could spoil their season.
Despite leading 2-0, Penn couldn’t hold onto the lead. The resilient Bulldogs came back to force overtime and eventually won 3-2 on forward Mia Rosati’s second goal of the game three minutes into the extra session. With the loss — Penn’s fourth loss in overtime this season — the Quakers (4-10, 1-3 Ivy) still have yet to win at Franklin Field this year.
Early on, Penn showed it was in for a fight. It didn’t show any signs of rust despite not having played since Oct. 14th due to a postponed game against Columbia. And even the absence of star senior midfielder Sarah Warner — who was battling a 24-hour virus — didn’t slow down the Quakers.
The Red and Blue came out aggressively, as senior midfielder Kelsey Tahan scored within the first minute of the game on a laser strike.
The goal appeared to fire up both the offense and defense, as Penn received four corners while holding the high-powered Bulldogs’ offense to just two in the first half.
“We knew we wanted to prevent them from getting corners,” Tahan emphasized.
Later in the half, Tahan scored her second goal on an assist from senior back Katie Burke off a well-executed corner in the 13th minute.
Penn’s defense proved formidable all afternoon, led by Burke and senior midfielder Katie Moran. The Bulldogs were effectively shut down in the first half, save for one goal in the 23rd minute.
However as the second-half began, it was Yale (10-5, 4-1) that emerged the aggressor. The Bulldogs received three corners within the first 15 minutes of the half, converting on one to tie the game at 2-2 in the 45th minute.
Penn coach Val Cloud quickly called a timeout to settle her team down.
“I thought we weren’t using the balance of the field,” Cloud said, adding that she called the timeout to “just give [Penn] a little last boost.”
She certainly gave them a boost, as the Quakers responded within two and a half minutes by receiving their fifth corner of the game. But Penn was ultimately unable to convert on this and other numerous opportunities in the second half, when it took five shots.
Penn sophomore goalkeeper Kieran Sweeney and her defense kept the team in the game on the other side as Yale turned up its own offensive attack. The Bulldogs played with a sense of urgency down the stretch and were awarded with six corners in the second half. Yet Sweeney made some key saves late to send the game into overtime.
With the game knotted at 2-2, the teams took the field for the extra period, but not for long. Yale was awarded a corner 3:26 into overtime, and Rosati ended the game with her second goal of the afternoon.
Though a win against an Ivy-league-championship-contending Yale team would have provided a nice bright spot to an otherwise disappointing record, Cloud was quick to say that her team’s performance yesterday showed that Penn is “better than what has happened this year.”
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