clairekneizys

Field hockey's senior captain and center back, Claire Kneizys, scored both her first ever career goal and the game-winner in overtime against Saint Joseph's on Sunday.

It was a tale of two contests for Penn field hockey this weekend.

After splitting their first two games last weekend, the Quakers handily defeated LIU-Brooklyn on Friday, but needed an extra frame to do the same to Saint Joe’s on Sunday.

On Friday, Penn welcomed LIU-Brooklyn to Ellen Vagelos Field for the program’s third-ever field hockey contest. The Quakers (3-1) did not hold back on Friday, scoring five minutes in, taking a 4-0 lead by halftime, and tacking on two more in the second half to in the 6-0 win over the Blackbirds (0-3).

“We were really focusing on ourselves today and some things we want to do in the future, implement some new things, had some people play in some new positions,” Penn coach Colleen Fink said. Senior midfielder and captain Elise Tilton felt similarly about the game’s outlook.

“We knew going in we were going to play our game and work to implement some things [of our own].”

That was clearly in effect on Friday, but the team also saw immense contributions from junior attackers Alexa Hoover and Gina Guccione. The two combined for a goal, two assists and 23 shots.

The game was pure domination for the Quakers from beginning to end. The Quakers outshot their all-freshman opponents 35-0. In what is typically very rare, the Quakers were able to use every member of their team, even their four goaltenders. According to Fink, that gives Penn the upper hand in future competition.

“I think it’s hugely important because you want to build your team and be able to try to give people some valuable minutes so when they do step into a starting role or more critical role they’re not completely green.”

Sunday was an entirely different story. The Quakers visited St. Joe’s to continue an intra-city rivalry that is already rich with 21 prior contests. The Hawks (3-1) were undefeated heading into the contest and looked to be well on their way on Sunday, setting out to an early 2-0 lead. Penn’s determination helped them stay confident and motivated.

Saint Joe’s was looking to defend their home-field and undefeated record. The Quakers were looking to build on their top-20 ranking aspirations.

The Red and Blue scored just before halftime to narrow the gap but would be quickly taken back by the Hawks just two minutes into the second frame. An extended back-and-forth left the Quakers with a 4-2 deficit and just over 30 minutes left in the game.

This time the Quakers were able to close the gap halfway through the second half when junior Rachel Huang scored off a penalty corner. The game remained gridlocked at 4-4 through the end of regulation. 

Seven minutes into overtime, the Quakers drew a penalty corner. Hoover received the insert and opted to pass to senior captain and center back Claire Kneizys, who put one past the Hawks’ goaltender to steal the win for Penn. That game leaves Penn at 3-1 heading into an important week of play.

During that game, Hoover came out with two goals, two assists and six points. That tied the record for career goals and broke the record for points in Penn field hockey history. Just over halfway into her playing career with the Red and Blue, Hoover still stands to be one of the Ivy League's best ever field hockey stars.

That win put Penn on top 14-7 in their series against St. Joe’s. Kneizys’ game-winner was her first goal for the Red and Blue. 

The Quakers are now 3-1 after their first four games, with their only loss against the then-top-ranked program in UNC. They will look to continue building on Friday when they take on Fairfield.

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