Two days, two cities, two games, two wins.
After defeating Cornell at home on Saturday 2-0, Penn field hockey completed an undefeated weekend on the road the next day with a 3-2 overtime victory over American.
The Quakers (4-4, 1-0 Ivy) entered both games as underdogs with Cornell (5-2, 0-1) and American (7-3) both getting off to impressive starts this season.
Playing against the Big Red in both teams’ Ivy League opener, the Red and Blue were aggressive from the very beginning, needing only ten minutes to take the lead off a goal from sophomore back Alexa Schneck. Even after the early goal, Penn continued to apply heavy pressure. At halftime, the Quakers had recorded eight total shots compared to only two for Cornell.
Penn’s second goal came midway through the second half when junior Rachel Mirkin was able to redirect a shot from senior Alexa Hoover. Even with the two-point cushion, Penn refused to take its foot off the gas, holding Cornell to only seven shots in the shutout.
Sunday’s game at American was a much different story. This time, it was the Eagles who were the more aggressive team, and it was also the Eagles who were able to get on the board first after just four minutes of play.
“I think the scheme that American had was just to force as many entry balls as possible, and just try to make things happen offensively, so stylistically that’s obviously difficult, but I think we handled it well,” coach Colleen Fink said.
It didn’t take long for the Red and Blue to respond, though. In the 13th minute, Hoover capitalized off a penalty corner to tie the game, and then just a few minutes later, senior midfielder Gina Guccione punched the ball in to break the tie. The score would stay 2-1 in Penn’s favor for the remainder of the half.
After intermission, American was quick to tie things up again when Noor Coenen scored her second goal of the game. Both teams had opportunities as regulation winded down, but neither team was able to score.
Entering overtime, the Quakers looked to push the issue as they had a player-advantage for the first minute and a half of play. At one point early on, it looked like Hoover might have been able to break away for a one on one with the goalie, but the referees whistled the play dead and American was able to hold on to get its suspended player back.
The Eagles weren’t able to hold on for much for longer than that, though.
With 13:22 still left in the first overtime period, Hoover secured the Red and Blue victory with her second goal of the game.
“Alexa Hoover, you know, she does what she does best,” Fink said. “She loves a bouncy ball and she loves an untraditional play, and she was able to possess, you know, get the shot off, and you know, put the game away for us.”
After an extremely challenging slate of games to start the season, the win over American marked the Quakers’ first victory against a ranked opponent. With the next match coming against 16th-ranked and defending Ivy League champions Harvard, it might not take long for the Quakers to add to that total. The team, however, could not care less about Harvard’s ranking.
“I think we’re really just trying to take every game one game at a time. So our approach has just been to remain consistent in our approach to every game, and to go into every game the exact same way,” Fink said.
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