PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team played a back-and-forth game with city rival La Salle on Wednesday afternoon at Ellen Vagelos Field. However, the Quakers’ three goals – sandwiched between a pair of Explorer tallies – was enough for the 3-2 win.
Penn is now 5-1 on the season, the best start for the program since the 1997 team was also 5-1. La Salle fell to 2-7.
La Salle needed just 7:19 to go ahead in this contest, the first time Penn trailed on its new Astroturf field. After a series of Quaker shots at the other end, the Explorers counterattacked and scored when Juliana Carfagno’s initial shot was saved by Carly Sokach but bounced to Mariel Papa. She, in turn, struck it toward the goal and past Sokach’s right pad.
Penn pressed the action after that – the Quakers outshot the Explorers 13-3 in the period – but it wasn’t until just 2:10 remained before the break that the Red and Blue finally drew level. Emily Corcoran drove into the circle and fired a shot that appeared to be heading wide. However, it deflected off a stick and into the goal, past La Salle goalkeeper Lisa Shaffer.
Penn took the lead for good 10 minutes into the second half. Corcoran again had the goal; she started the penalty corner, and eventually the ball bounced back to her and she pushed it home from in close. Corcoran was a constant threat on this day, putting eight shots on goal.
Penn extended its lead just 1:15 later, this time Jasmine Cole using some nice moves on the left side to create an angle and firing a shot past Shaffer’s right pad inside the near post.
It seemed like the Quakers would cruise to victory after that, but the Explorers made it interesting with 1:19 left when they scored off a penalty corner. Maddy Tettelbach played the ball directly to Olivia Shoemaker, who rifled a shot past Sokach.
Penn was able to hold La Salle at bay the rest of the way. The Quakers outshot the Explorers, 22-7, for the game and forced Shaffer to make 13 saves. Sokach had three stops, and was helped by MaryRose Croddick who had a defensive save midway through the second half.
Penn returns to action this weekend, jumping back into Ivy League play with Harvard. The Quakers and Crimson will face off at noon in Cambridge, Mass.