Thrilling, hard-fought, triumphant.
Such was junior Emily Corcoran’s overtime game-winner, and such was Penn field hockey’s 5-4 victory over Ivy League foe Dartmouth Sunday afternoon at Ellen Vagelos Field.
After two halves of back-and-forth action and four minutes of tension-filled overtime play, Corcoran finally put an end to the game with her eighth goal of the season.
The team’s second-leading scorer split two defenders at the top of the circle, put a spin move on another and fired a low, net-seeking shot to give the Quakers (7-2, 3-0 Ivy) their best start in Ivy play since 1995.
“[This win] is hugely significant because this team has never beaten Dartmouth,” coach Colleen Fink said. “I think that shows the direction the program is going in.”
In a game that marked Penn field hockey’s first win over Dartmouth (3-6, 1-2) in six years, the numbers fail to tell the whole story.
At halftime, Penn led Dartmouth 14-5 in shots — and 9-0 in corners — yet trailed 3-2.
The first half featured plenty of action that got started early on. Each team struck within the first three minutes of the game. Big Green senior Maggie Scanlon scored first off an assist from fellow senior Sam Anderson. Penn freshman Jasmine Cole evened the game up 30 seconds later on a solo effort, swooping in from the right baseline.
Dartmouth’s second and third goals of the contest came courtesy of standout junior Ali Savage. Her first came off a rebound seven minutes in, and her second came less than three minutes later on an impressive individual effort.
Sandwiched between those two strikes was a Red and Blue goal from senior Sunny Stirewalt, her first of the season. The assist came from freshman Elise Tilton, who would contribute later in the contest.
Penn generated more offensive pressure as the half went, including a string of corners heading into halftime, but wasn’t able to tie the game up.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities on corners,” Fink said.
For a stretch, the second half resembled the first, with Penn failing to take advantage of good offensive opportunities and Savage finding the net for a third time. The goal, which came 14 minutes into the second half and made Dartmouth’s advantage 4-2, was assisted by junior Janine Leger.
Down two goals with 20 minutes remaining, Penn’s chances looked bleak.
But a familiar face rallied the Quakers.
With 10 minutes remaining, Penn finally cashed in on a corner, with Tilton scoring off a pretty feed from veteran senior Julie Tahan.
But the freshman wasn’t done just yet. Less than three minutes later, Tilton struck again from close range to tie the game at four and post her seventh goal of the season. Junior Alex Iqbal set the goal up as she forced a turnover, advanced to the baseline and put the ball in perfect position for Tilton to score.
Penn took several corners at the end of regulation, but the Dartmouth defense held.
So it was on to overtime, where Corcoran prevented a second straight loss at Vagelos Field.
Corcoran and her teammates celebrated, painting a picture of pure jubilation after their victory.
“It’s an amazing feeling because none of us on this squad have beaten Dartmouth,” Corcoran said. “All of our hard work showed today.”
Looking ahead, Penn begins a three-game road trip on Wednesday at Rider. But for now, the Quakers are just enjoying their triumph.
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