PHILADELPHIA - On a day that saw the stands filled with alums, and with the team wearing yellow socks, armbands and headbands to support a stricken former player, the University of Pennsylvania field hockey team put forth an effort worthy of the cause Sunday afternoon against Brown.
The drama was maybe a bit more than anyone was asking for.
That said, it was all smiles on the Quaker bench when the game was over. In the 11th minute of overtime, Penn took a penalty corner and Sarah Hasson fired a shot that was stopped by Brown goalkeeper Shannon McSweeney. The ball ricocheted to Julie Tahan, who was able to collect it and fire toward goal before McSweeney could recover. That gave Penn a 2-1 win.
With the win, Penn improved to 9-7 overall and assured itself of a winning record for the first time since 2006. (The Quakers wrap up the season next Saturday at Princeton.) In addition, the Quakers improved to 3-3 in Ivy League play and are tied for third place with Columbia and Cornell.
The result was a just one. Penn outshot Brown, 25-4, including a staggering 8-0 in overtime as the Quakers peppered McSweeney (18 saves) off of its three penalty corners in the extra session. The Red and Blue had 15 corners in the game, compared to just one for Brown.
Penn had a nice chance to open the scoring when Tahan found Amelia Cohen open in front of an open goal, but Cohen's one-timer went wide left. Just seconds after that, Brown had its first big opportunity when Meghan O'Donnell outraced the Penn defense and had a 1-on-1 with Carly Sokach. Sokach was able to thwart the effort.
Penn -- which outshot Brown, 11-1, in the first half -- finally broke through with just over seven minutes left before the halftime break. Tahan used a nice individual effort to get free and then played a ball into the circle, where Hasson re-directed it past McSweeney's left.
Brown had a great chance to tie it about eight minutes into the second half, when Mandy Epstein was called for a foul deep in Penn territory on O'Donnell. Epstein was given a yellow card and a 10-minute penalty, and the Bears were given a penalty stroke. Sokach was equal to the effort, though, moving to her right and using her blocker to stop Kelsey Grossman. Penn then staved off the 10-minute, man-down situation.
Shortly after the teams were back at even strength, though, the Bears broke through. Off a penalty corner, Clayton Christus moved the ball back across the goalmouth to Alexis Miller. Miller fired a one-timer that beat Sokach to her right and tied the game at 1-1.
Penn got yet another 10-minute yellow with just under 10 minutes to play in regulation, this time Hitti called for the foul. Shorthanded for the second time, Penn was again able to hold Brown off, getting the game to overtime and setting the stage for Tahan's heroics.
In her final home game wearing the Red and Blue (along with Epstein and Kyle deSandes-Moyer), Hasson took nine shots and put seven of them on goal. Emily Corcoran had six shots, five on goal, while Tahan and Hitti had three shots that were on target.
Sokach ended the game with three saves.
Penn and Princeton will face off next Saturday at 11 a.m. in New Jersey.