The stage has been set.
While Princeton beat Cornell, 4-0, Penn field hockey faced Brown at the same time, also dispatching the Bears, 4-0, in another shutout win for junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach.
The win keeps the Quakers (13-3, 5-1 Ivy) just a game behind first place in the Ancient Eight, setting up a winner-take-all matchup with first-place Princeton next weekend.
Playing at Brown (6-9, 1-5), the Red and Blue weren’t able to score in the early going but broke through with 10 minutes left in the first half when sophomore Elizabeth Hitti scored unassisted to get the Quakers on the board.
On the play, Hitti drove on her defender, went to her backhand side and took a reverse backhand shot to get it past the Brown netminder.
“I think she caught the goalkeeper really off guard as well as the defense, with her quick release,” coach Colleen Fink said. “And she doesn’t shoot backhanded very often, so it was definitely a surprise.”
After halftime, it was all Penn, as the Quakers poured it on with three more goals.
The first of the three came from junior Emily Corcoran, who netted her 13th goal of the season shortly after halftime.
The final two goals came from freshman sensation Jasmine Cole, who scored a pair of goals just 2:49 apart to seal Penn’s victory. Her first goal came off an assist from Corcoran, while senior Julie Tahan assisted on her final tally.
Cole, who ranks near the top in the NCAA in goals per game, now has 18 on the season for the Red and Blue, two shy of a program record.
The Quakers dominated the game offensively, outshooting Brown, 23-10, while taking 10 corners compared to just four by the Bears.
“I think our offense needed that kind of game to regain its confidence and to go into next Saturday’s matchup feeling hot,” Fink said.
Sokach was once again solid in goal for the Red and Blue, making all the plays necessary to keep Brown scoreless. The victory was the fifth shutout for Sokach, who has given up just two goals in Penn’s last four games.
“She had six saves, but she also made some really nice plays that weren’t the result of shots,” Fink said. “At the opening of the game, she had a one-v.-one defensive play that really set the tone.”
The Quakers also received strong performances from the entire defense, with Fink singling out the strong play of juniors MaryRose Croddick and Helene Caniglia.
Penn is now just one win shy of tying the program record for wins in a season.
And Penn has just one game left on its schedule — the de facto Ivy League championship game at Vagelos Field next Saturday when defending NCAA champion Princeton comes to campus.
The homecoming matchup will decide which team gets the Ivy League’s automatic postseason berth, making the game a fitting time to officially dedicate Penn’s new field.
“This is exactly where we were hoping to be at this point in the season,” Fink said. “We all wish we could get that Columbia game back but that being said, we did what we needed to make this game meaningful.
“We wanted to make it meaningful not just for our program but also for Ellen Vagelos and her return back to campus. This is the exact situation we wanted to be in, hoped to be in and strived to be in come Nov. 9.”
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