This Friday, it was the Sofia Palacios show.
The sophomore attack had the best game of her young career, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win in double overtime. With the win, the Red and Blue (4-1) added a solid road victory to their resume as they head into conference play next weekend versus Cornell.
“It’s really nice to go into that first Ivy League game, feeling confident and being able to take shots,” Palacios said. “We’re definitely on a high after getting a win this weekend.”
The first goal of the game came late in the first half, when Palacios took a miss by junior attack Alexa Hoover and drove the ball into the back of a net, putting the Quakers up, 1-0, 33 minutes in.
“Hoover got off a shot off the post, and I was just in the right place at the right time,” Palacios said. “I just kind of lifted it through a crowd and it went in.”
Fairfield would respond though, early in the second half. Thirty-seven minutes in, Stag attack Hannah Pike put away a penalty corner to knot the game at one, a score that would hold into two overtimes.
In the second period, though, Palacios struck again. Ninety-three minutes into the game, the Virginia native found herself in a one-on-one breakaway with Fairfield goalie Caitlin Bennett.
“The pass came over the center to me. ... I got off the shot and it went in,” Palacios said of her walk-off score. “It definitely came at the right time.”
“The pass came from our defensive end, Sofia took it from right to left across the circle and scored on a backhand,” added coach Colleen Fink.
With the two goals, Palacios now has four on the season, topping the team. Teammates Elise Tilton, Rachel Huang and Hoover (who rewrote program record books with 27 goals last season) each have three apiece.
The Quakers had the chance to wrap the game up much earlier, outshooting Fairfield 24-12 on the day. Eleven of those shots came from Hoover, who despite her solid play, has not been able to replicate her prolific scoring output of 2015 so far this season.
“It can be frustrating at times — we only scored one out of 11 on our corners,” Fink said of the frustrating offensive evening. “Sometimes when it comes to scoring, the harder you try, the harder it becomes.”
Now, Penn’s game will really start to count — they kick off conference play at Cornell next Saturday, their first matchup of the all-important Ivy League season.
“It was good playing two tight games [the Quakers beat St. Joseph’s 5-4 in double overtime a week ago], because everything is on the line. The Ivy League is a battle,” Fink said. “We’re really prepared for that battleground atmosphere.”
So, when the Red and Blue take the field next Saturday in Ithaca, they won’t just be sporting a pretty 4-1 record — they will be a battle-tested squad coming off two clutch overtime wins.
And if the past is prologue, Palacios might just be about to notch a couple more goals.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.