It was the most exciting moment of the season for Emily Corcoran, and no one even knew it at the time.
The field hockey sophomore netted her first goal of the season and Penn’s final score of Sunday’s game as the Quakers beat Radford, 4-0.
The goal was indeed long overdue. Corcoran, a forward, has the third-most shots on the Quakers (6-5, 1-2 Ivy) this season with 24.
And even after waiting 10-plus games for a goal, Corcoran had to wait some more to get recognition for her first tally. The goal was initially announced as a score by freshman Alex Agathis, and Corcoran was credited with an assist. Not until after the game did the truth come out, and celebration burst out on the sideline.
“It was definitely a positive for Emily to get that first goal of the season because she’s been working extremely hard,” coach Colleen Fink said. “She’s the person who forces the majority of the corners for this team. She puts up a lot of shots.”
Corcoran’s goal was an exclamation point to the Red and Blue’s domination of the visiting Highlanders (1-9). From the beginning, the Penn offense was dominant, consistently winning 1-on-1 battles with defenders and controlling the ball for the vast majority of the first half.
“The game plan was to maintain possession, two-touch, get them chasing as much as possible and when the opportunity is presented, to strike the ball downfield to take advantage of it,” Fink said.
The first goal came at the 14:56 mark, when Sunny Stirewalt redirected a blast from Elizabeth Hitti past the goalkeeper. The Quakers outshot the Highlanders, 9-0, in the first but had trouble finishing. Two goals were also called off on penalties.
“Radford has a solid defense,” Fink said. “I think their goalkeeper is strong, she’s very aggressive in her positioning. … The opportunities were there, it was just a difficult test to get it in behind her.”
Penn came out of halftime strong and got around the Radford defense just under three minutes into the second half. Hitti took a pass at the 25-yard line and fired the ball through a crowd of defenders to the far post, where Julie Tahan was waiting to deflect it in.
Starting strong has been a point of emphasis for the Red and Blue recently.
“Coming into the game, after having a rough start to the second half against Lafayette, we said, ‘At the beginning of the first, beginning of the second, we’re gonna come out strong,’” Hitti said.
Sophomore Helene Caniglia added a score at 58:17 on an assist from Corcoran, before the final, long-awaited goal.
Overall, the performance was an exhibition of ability and effort on both sides of the ball. Four different scorers produced for an offense that looked crisp and confident, and the defensive unit recorded its first shutout of the season without allowing so much as a shot on goal.
“It’s a function of the desire to play a full 70 minutes,” Fink said. “[That is] something we’ve been talking a lot about and something that I was in their ear about for the majority of the game.”
The Quakers return to Ivy League play with a matchup against Columbia at Franklin Field on Friday.
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