There’s something about overtime for Colleen Fink’s Penn field hockey team.
Fink has had a rough one-and-a-half seasons as head coach, but when it comes to overtime, she is a perfect 3-0.
At Franklin Field Wednesday night, freshman Helene Caniglia capped a double-overtime thriller with a golden goal, giving Penn a 1-0 victory over La Salle.
The Quakers (2-6) came out on top despite La Salle (3-6) dominating possession in regulation, outshooting Penn and earning more penalty corners.
The game was not without controversy, either. The Explorers appeared to have won the game at the end of the first overtime when Penn’s Kieran Sweeney allowed a shot in the net. But the goal was called off because the shot was taken outside the scoring circle. La Salle’s fans screamed that the ball was deflected inside the circle, but to no avail.
Though only one goal was scored, there could easily have been many more, including a few times when each team had a shot on an open net but couldn’t convert. Despite the team’s first-half struggles, Penn closed the second half with the momentum after two excellent opportunities.
That energy carried over to overtime, in which the Quakers looked much more into the game.
“You just have to approach [OT] in an attacking mentality …instead of being timid or scared or mad that what we wanted to do in regulation, we might not have accomplished,” Fink said.
In the extra sessions, Penn found more opportunities to put pressure on La Salle. While that energy did not produce a goal in the first overtime, the Red and Blue found the back of the net three minutes into the second.
After being awarded a penalty corner, the inbound went to Kirstin Snyder, who put a shot on net. The ball was deflected but rolled past the goaltender and was swept up and put into the cage by Caniglia.
Penn had a very similar opportunity off a penalty corner at the end of regulation, but the ball was batted away before the Quakers could knock it in.
While the Red and Blue managed to come out on top, gaining possession remains a problem.
“We definitely need to communicate a little bit better,” Caniglia said, “and use our transfers in the backfield and our defensive players to control the ball more and create gaps.”
Penn rarely put together multiple passes or found open space. Both Caniglia and Fink pointed to chemistry as a crucial factor that would lead to better finishing on the offensive side.
While Caniglia was the obvious hero of the game, Penn’s goaltender Sweeney was the unsung one. Sweeney neatly dealt with many La Salle opportunities and turned away every ball that came her way to tie a career-high 12 saves.
Next, Penn continues conference play against Dartmouth at Franklin Field on Saturday. the Quakers are 1-1 thus far in the Ivy League.
Fink knows what her team needs to do son Saturday.
“[We’ve] gotta score more than one goal,” she said.
That may prove to be a challenge as Penn has failed to score twice in one game through eight games this season.
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