PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team needed all of regulation, 30 minutes of overtime, a shootout and one final penalty stroke before it vanquished Yale Saturday at Ellen Vagelos Field. Carly Sokach punctuated a spectacular day in goal, stopping Georgia Holland's stroke to give the Quakers a 2-1 win in the strokes and thus a 1-0 decision in the game.
Penn (11-3, 4-1 Ivy League) remained a game back of Princeton in the Ivy standings; the Tigers are 5-0 after beating Harvard on Saturday, 3-1. Yale fell to 6-8 overall, 2-3 in conference.
The regulation and overtimes certainly presented drama in their own right, but this was the first time Penn had gone to the new shootout system and that was all the discussion afterward. (The last time Penn went to the old penalty stroke format in a game? Try exactly 11 years ago, on October 26, 2002 against this same Yale program. That game ended as a 2-1 Bulldog victory.)
Shooting at the south goal, Penn went first and MaryRose Croddick was denied in her 1-on-1 attempt by Yale goalkeeper Heather Schlesier. Yale's Erica Borgo was next, and she was stopped by Sokach. Katie Harrington and Yale's Rhoni Gericke were next, and both were unable to score.
Penn sophomore Elizabeth Hitti opened the scoring in the top of the third round, getting around Schlesier and firing it into the goal. Sokach then denied Jessie Accurso, giving the Quakers a 1-0 lead after three rounds.
Jasmine Cole tried a speed run around Schlesier, but lost control of the ball and ran out of time. Then Emily Schuckert scored for Yale to tie things up 1-1 heading into the final round.
Senior Julie Tahan went for Penn, and was not denied. Her first shot was saved, but she pounced on the rebound and got it home just before the whistle for a goal.
That left Sokach and Holland. Holland attempted to get around Sokach's left side, was tripped by the keeper and the refs signalled for a penalty stroke. From the spot, Holland attempted to go low left corner but Sokach was equal to the challenge and pushed it aside. That set off a huge celebaration, as Sokach's teammates quickly piled on top of her.
It was a fitting end to this game; Sokach finished the day with 15 saves (tying a career high) in garnering the shutout. The Quakers were also aided by a standout defensive save by Helene Caniglia in the second half, and a Gericke shot that rang off the right post in the first overtime. At the other end Schlesier had six stops and was aided by a defensive save from Holland.
Yale outshot Penn, 27-14, while the Quakers held a 14-13 edge in penalty corners in the game.
Penn returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Villanova at 4 p.m. on Ellen Vagelos Field.