Another overtime game, another conference win for Penn field hockey.
For the third Ivy League contest in a row, the Quakers needed overtime to get the result they wanted, this time making Dartmouth the victims of their extra time heroics, winning in incredible fashion, 3-2.
Penn (9-1, 3-0 Ivy) dominated the first half, out-shooting Dartmouth (4-6, 0-3), 16-4, by the end of the period. In the 15th minute, sophomore phenom Alexa Hoover opened the scoring, breaking the Red and Blue’s 12-year-old season goal-scoring record set by Liz Lorelli in back in 2003 after eclipsing the season points-scoring record on Tuesday against Lafayette.
The Quakers continued to dominate the first half, but Big Green goalie Paige Duffy was up to the task, making save after save to keep her squad in the game until the horn sounded to signal the end of the half.
Penn came out strong again after the break, getting a couple of good chances before momentum began to swing in Dartmouth’s favor. Similar to the Cornell game on Sept. 25, the Red and Blue began giving up corners, with the Big Green getting increasingly closer to breaking through.
In the 50th minute, Dartmouth’s Brooke Van Valkenburg scored off a penalty corner to tie the game at one apiece. That goal put Penn on its heels despite a massive shot disparity in the Quakers’ favor, forcing coach Colleen Fink to call a timeout.
“We just have to buckle down and get through those moments,” Fink said after the game. “I think that, as a program, we are starting to draw some attention to ourselves, and teams are coming in prepared because of the quality coaching in our league and also coming in with a different level of energy.
“When you’re on the top, you have to know that there’s always a target on your back, so sometimes that makes those moments even more challenging.”
Penn seemed to adjust after the timeout, putting the pressure back on the Big Green. Eight minutes after Dartmouth’s goal, the Quakers earned a corner of their own and capitalized.
Freshman Selena Garzio received the ball and passed to sophomore Gina Guccione across the circle who fed it right back to Garzio for an open shot and goal, giving the Quakers a 2-1 lead and retaking momentum.
After taking a timeout in the 65th minute, Dartmouth seemed to regain its composure, and scored a minute later on a deflection goal. Julia Donald redirected a shot from far outside the circle just enough from sophomore goalie Liz Mata’s reach to tie the game at two with four minutes left in regulation.
When Penn failed to convert a corner chance at the end of regulation, the game was forced into overtime. The first 15-minute half produced plenty of back-and-forth action as the field opened up, with junior Claire Kneizys receiving a yellow card, one that put the Red and Blue down a player for five nerve-wracking minutes.
After fending off the penalty, the Quakers stormed down the field, and junior Elise Tilton marched into the shooting circle and earned a penalty stroke for the squad. Hoover took the shot, but seemed to clip the ball, causing it to roll right to the goalie.
The second overtime period saw more action, as senior captain Elizabeth Hitti had a chance to end it on a breakaway before her shot went begging wide. But with about five minutes remaining in overtime before going to a penalty shootout, Penn’s offensive pressure finally led to the game-winning goal.
Tilton got off a shot in the circle that rebounded to Hoover on the side of goal. The sophomore passed the ball across cage back to Tilton, who tapped it into the goal for the backdoor overtime winner. Finally, after almost 100 minutes of field hockey, the Quakers captured the win, surviving an upset scare from a Dartmouth team still looking for its first conference win.
Looking ahead, Fink felt that Penn would have to get through many more of these types of games with four Ivy opponents remaining on the schedule.
“There are quality players in this league, there’s quality coaching in this league, and no game is ever going to be easy,” she said. “There’s a lot less separation between worst and first.”
“We’re building a real sense of family on the team,” Hitti added. “We’re fighting this season. Everybody wants it, from the freshmen to the seniors, and we’re on a relentless pursuit. There’s definitely something special going on.”
Penn is back in action on Friday when it travels to face Columbia.
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