Nearly one year to the day after losing a tightly-contested game to Johns Hopkins, Penn had a chance to avenge that loss and prove themselves a reinvented team versus a familiar opponent.
Coming off of a dominant 21-1 victory against La Salle last weekend, the Quakers improved to 2-0 following a 13-12 overtime win over No. 16 Johns Hopkins, who now falls to 1-2. Despite trailing for most of the game, Penn was able to pull off late-game heroics and secure a win, their first on the road and against a ranked opponent in 2023.
Penn drew first blood, with sophomore midfielder Anna Brandt scoring just over three minutes into the game. Brandt's first collegiate goal was against Johns Hopkins last season, and she found the back of the net five times against La Salle.
However, Johns Hopkins evened the score less than a minute later following a turnover. Penn struggled for most of the rest of the first quarter, with most of the Quakers' shots being stopped by the Blue Jays' goalkeeper Maggie Tydings. After one period, Johns Hopkins led 3-2.
Even though each team scored four goals in the second quarter, Johns Hopkins seemed to have an edge. The Blue Jays were able to cut toward the net and find creases on offense, and physical defense on the other end forced a slew of timely Quaker miscues. This led to multiple fast breaks and open shots, which the Blue Jays converted into goals. By contrast, Penn couldn't capitalize on offense, and trailed 7-6 going into halftime, despite having six more shots on goal than the Blue Jays.
Coming out of halftime, it took Penn just 30 seconds to tie the game on a precise strike by senior attacker Kennon Moon. Soon after, another goal by fellow senior attacker Niki Miles gave Penn its first lead since the first quarter. But it didn't take long for the Blue Jays to respond, with the Quakers' lead lasting for under two minutes before the game was tied again.
The game began to slow down late in the third, as both teams committed unforced errors and seemed to be worn out by the game's physical nature and rapid pace. But Penn repeatedly failed to take advantage of opportunities — including a power play with under three minutes left in the third quarter — and with one quarter left to play, Johns Hopkins led 10-8.
Early in the fourth quarter, Johns Hopkins expanded its lead to three with Ashley Mackin's fifth of five goals on the afternoon, following yet another Penn turnover. But understanding there was no time to waste, the Quakers went on a run of their own, scoring the next three goals and tying the game with just over five minutes left in regulation on a man-up goal by sophomore midfielder Bella Kehoe.
As the game's final minutes ticked by, the physical play continued, and both offenses were quiet, until a Johns Hopkins' Georgie Gorelick scored from a free-position shot with under two minutes left. Now in desperation mode, Penn coach Karin Corbett decided to pull her goalkeeper, a gamble which paid off in an incredible final sequence of regulation.
Only needing to run out the clock, Johns Hopkins committed an unforced turnover, setting up sophomore attacker Erika Chung with a chance to take a shot in the match's final seconds. She scored, tying the game at 12 all and setting the stage for a golden-goal overtime period.
Two minutes into overtime, Brandt had a clear chance to win the game when she found herself with a free run to the goal. With the field lights on as the sun was setting, Brandt slipped the ball past Tydings to win an absolutely thrilling match.
As the Red and Blue rushed the field, cheers rang out for what was as improbable of a finish as any. The Quakers successfully came back down three in the final period, and got revenge for their disappointing loss a season ago.
The Quakers will hope to continue their hot start and miraculous play on March 1 at Loyola Maryland. The game is at 4:00 p.m. in Baltimore and will be streamed on ESPN+.