The difficult, evenly matched and hard-fought games keep coming.
But so do Emily Corcoran and her late-game heroics.
The junior scored her second overtime winner in two games this week on Wednesday evening to give the Quakers a gritty 4-3 victory over Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J.
The game was filled with action from the very start, as two players scored almost immediately. The first goal came a little more than three minutes in, off the stick of Rider senior forward Sandra Penas. However, Penn answered a short two minutes later thanks to freshman Jasmine Cole.
After a relatively quiet 15 minutes, during which Rider took five consecutive unsuccessful shots on goal, Corcoran struck for the first time, scoring off a Julie Tahan assist to give Penn its first lead of the game.
While Corcoran was the overtime heroine of the match, Penn might not have made it to overtime without the continued success of Cole, who also scored two goals on the evening.
Cole’s persistence — she took seven shots over the course of the match, five of which were on goal — paid off for the second time seven minutes into the second half, when she scored again on a penalty corner to put Penn up, 3-1.
“Jasmine’s goals were obviously critical,” coach Colleen Fink said. “The first made it 1-1 after we gave up a goal we weren’t really happy about, and to be able to capitalize quickly — we were kind of able to level the playing field right away and move forward.”
Unfortunately, the happiness — and the lead — was short-lived. Within the next 11 minutes, Rider forward Nicole Hareau scored twice: first off an assist from Penas and second on a penalty stroke with 17 minutes left in the game.
“We were up 3-1, we were in a really good position, we were doing a really good job of controlling the tempo of the game, and when those two goals were scored against us, we allowed Rider to take command,” Fink said of the Rider comeback. “During that period of time, we let them dictate the pace of the game.”
While the missed opportunity was frustrating, the Quakers managed to stay level-headed.
“We called a timeout, and we just made them collectively take a deep breath and remind them of the game plan and let them know that it’s okay to not go at the same pace [as Rider],” Fink said. “Sometimes when the game is really messy, you get caught up in it and make mistakes in judgment as well as skill, [but] they were able to regain their composure and play their style of hockey.”
At that point, the game was anyone’s for the taking.
For the next 17 minutes, Penn and Rider fought a closely contested match, each taking multiple shots on goal. However, none of the shots found the back of the net, and the game headed into overtime.
After a tense 10 minutes of back and forth field hockey, Penn once again — as it has done so many times in the past few weeks — emerged victorious, again off a clutch shot from Corcoran assisted by Cole.
“Emily is one of the best athletes that we have on our team, so in overtime, she just has the stamina to play through whatever might be … she’s also really competitive, so that really fuels her ability to play through overtime,” Fink said about Corcoran’s continuing late-game heroics.
“It was … a really well-played goal,” Fink continued. “It was from the right off Jasmine, and she was able to get a stick on it and redirect it.”
Penn’s win marked its first in four meetings with Rider.
Throughout the past few weeks, Penn field hockey has demonstrated its ability to win both in dominating fashion and in long, drawn-out overtime finishes. And thanks to yet another timely goal from Emily Corcoran, the team ultimately managed to do what it’s been doing this entire season – just win, whatever it takes.
The cardiac Quakers next take on UMass-Lowell in New Haven, Sunday at noon.
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