Leading by two right before halftime, Penn field hockey lost its momentum, giving up a goal to Fairfield.
But instead of fall apart, the Quakers found another gear, taking down the Stags, 4-2. Senior Emily Corcoran and freshman Alexa Hoover scored two goals apiece on attack while senior goalkeeper Allison Weisenfels made three saves to preserve the victory.
The match started out slowly with the two teams exchanging corners but neither finding the back of net in the first 10 minutes. From there, Penn began to dictate the pace of the first half, controlling the ball in the offensive end.
The Quakers hit the goal post with 16:50 left in the half but would soon convert their first goal. Junior attack Elizabeth Hitti got a shot on goal and Hoover hit in the rebound.
Four minutes later, Corcoran struck a firm shot past Fairfield freshman goalkeeper Emma Ball to put the Red and Blue up two goals. In all, Penn had the first 10 shots of the game.
With two minutes left in the half, the Stags got their first shot on net and after a Weisenfels save, executed a corner in styling fashion to cut the Quakers’ lead in half, 2-1.
“It was a well executed play on their part, so you have to give credit where credit is due,” coach Colleen Fink said. “There’s something we could have done differently in terms of our defensive corner unit but they knew it the minute it happened. They knew they’d missed their cues to shut that corner down.”
“From a coaching standpoint, that’s the positive you draw from that: that they knew the mistake they made so they knew how to address it moving forward.”
And five minutes into the second half, Penn corrected for its mistake as Weisenfels made a strong save to prevent a goal on another corner. The Stags would not convert any of their three corners left in the game.
Shortly after a breakaway by Hoover was saved and a Quakers goal was waved off for being outside the circle, the Red and Blue got yet another offensive opportunity thanks to a solid defensive play by senior back MaryRose Croddick.
From there, Corcoran converted, taking an assist from Hitti. While Fairfield would answer a minute later, Hoover added a second goal of her own off an assist from senior midfiel Alex Iqbal to help seal the win.
“She’s dynamic,” Fink said. “She’s exciting to watch. People are going to come to the games to see her play. She’s creative, she’s fast, she dances out on the field.
She’s going to continue on in that light and no matter what defenses do against her, it’s going to be hard to shut her down completely.”
Corcoran and Hoover each have five goals this season, providing a strong combo on attack for the Red and Blue.
“We’re definitely meshing really well together,” Corcoran said about playing with Hoover. “We’re able to get plays going, hitting the open player, so she’s just an awesome addition to the team. She’s transitioned really well into the college game.
Meanwhile, Weisenfels has given up just four goals in Penn’s three games this year playing behind a strong defense.
“She is working incredibly hard in practice,” Fink said. “Every day, she’s taking in a lot of information. She’s wanting to get better.”
The Quakers will look to win their second match this weekend, facing Liberty at Vagelos Field on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
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