fieldhockey
Photo: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

Insane!

Penn field hockey rode another exceptional Alexa Hoover performance to its eighth win of the season, toppling Lafayette, 5-0, in a midweek non-conference matchup at Vagelos Field.

Hoover scored her 18th, 19th, and 20th goals of 2015, extending her massive lead in the Ivy goals scored standings. Maddie Copeland of Princeton and Krysten Mayers of Cornell are each tied for a distant second with nine goals apiece.

Hoover — who was held scoreless for the first time in 2015 during a 2-1 overtime win over Harvard on Saturday — scored her first tally of the match just seven minutes into the game. The sophomore attacker stole the ball and tucked it into the left side of the net, giving the Quakers (8-1) a quick 1-0 advantage.

“We went into the game with that mentality of attacking early, scoring first,” coach Colleen Fink said. “It allows you to settle into the game early on and not play with as frantic of a style. Hopefully that’s the lesson that they’ll take into the next game.”

Sophomore Rachel Huang struck again for the Quakers just five minutes later, scoring off an Elizabeth Hitti feed. Hoover notched her second goal of the match at the 35-minute mark, stretching the advantage to 3-0 going into halftime.

Hoover got right back into things four minutes into the second period, putting away another Hitti feed to complete the hat trick. That goal gave the Collegeville, Pa., native 20 on the season, which tied Penn’s all-time single-season goals scored record. Penn as a team has surrendered only 17 goals to opponents all season.

“It’s always great to break records, but my initial thought is always, ‘I’m not trying to be selfish.’ I actually had no idea I had tied the record,” Hoover said, laughing.

Hoover set another Penn program mark when she assisted on a Hitti goal to close out the scoring with five minutes remaining in the game. With that assist, Hoover now has 44 total points on the season, making her Penn’s outright all-time leader in that department. Liz Lorelli had previously held both the points and goals scored records, both of which were set in 2003.

Princeton’s Kathleen Sharkey, with 38 in 2012, holds the all-time Ivy League single-season goals scored record. With seven more games remaining, Hoover has a shot at seriously challenging the Tigers’ ex-star’s mark.

Penn goalkeeper Liz Mata had a quiet night in goal, needing only to make two saves en route to her first career shutout. The sophomore gave way to freshman backup Reina Kern with 5:25 left in the contest.

“We’ve been talking a lot about our defensive mentality,” said Fink. “It’s funny that today’s game came on the day when [the DP]’s headline was ‘The Defensive Unit.’ If we can keep eliminating entry balls and eliminating corner opportunities, then I think we’ll be successful defensively.”

“Everyone on this team has great stick skills, great field awareness,” Hoover added. “There’s no pressure for anyone since everyone feels like they can contribute.”

With the win, Penn has notched eight straight victories, moving to 8-1. Lafayette fell to 6-6.

The Red and Blue will look to build on their perfect 2-0 Ivy record when they host Dartmouth at home on Saturday. The Quakers will be looking to avenge a rough 5-3 loss in Hanover a year ago.

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