BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Field hockey started strong and finished strong, but a 12 minute stretch from the 16th minute through the 28th minute would doom the Quakers as Lehigh scored four times in that span after Penn jumped out to the early 1-0 lead. The Quakers broke all their previous offensive highs as a team for the season in this game, but just could not escape the three goal deficit that they put themselves in. The Quakers outshot the Mountain Hawks, 24-11, and held the advantage in shots on goal, 16-8, but Lehigh made just enough defensive stands to prevent Penn from coming all the way back. Penn also held a 10-4 advantage in penalty corners over the course of the game.
For Penn, Sarah Hasson scored her second goal of the season to get the scoring started, while sophomore Julie Tahan had her first multi-goal game at Penn,
scoring her fourth and fifth goals of the season. Senior Kirstin Snyder and
freshman Emily Corcoran were credited with the assists on the two goals by
Tahan, while Alex Iqbal picked up the assist on the first goal, her first collegiate point.
The three goals, 23 shots, and 15 shots on goal were all season-highs for an offense that was just looking to break out. However, this game definitely showed that Penn is moving in the right direction. In the preseason, Penn scrimmaged Lehigh and the Mountain Hawks held the Quakers' attack to just one goal in the 70 minute regulation that the two sides played. The Mountain Hawks won by three in that late August meeting. Just over a month and a half later, Penn closed the gap significantly.
To start the first half, Lehigh earned the early penalty corner just three minutes into the contest, but the Penn defense was there to block the shot on the short corner and prevent the early score. After the first penalty corner, the Quakers really got into their grove offensively.
Over the next eight minutes, Penn dominated the play and kept the Lehigh defense on its toes. Penn's first shot of the night came just shy of the five minute mark when Corcoran tried to put the Quakers up early, but her shot went wide of the cage. In the seventh minute of play, Iqbal then tried to give Penn the early advantage, but her shot was saved by Lehigh goalie Sierra Segear.
Tahan then got into the offensive act with her first shot on goal of the night, but Segear was up to the challenge on this attempt as well. Iqbal would get her second shot of the night in the 10th minute of play, only to have her shot then blocked by the Mountain Hawk defense.
However, the Quakers would earn the penalty corner attempt after the blocked shot. On the shot off the short corner, Tahan would put her attempt on frame, but it would be stopped by Segear. In the 12th minute, Snyder got her first shot of the night on goal, but this too was saved. One minute after her original shot, Snyder then hit the post with her second shot of the evening.
After the post saved one goal for the Mountain Hawk defense,
the ball worked its way around to Iqbal. The freshman would find Hasson right in front of the goal for the rebound off Iqbal's shot. The goal was Hasson's second of the season and gave Penn the early 1-0 lead.
Lehigh quickly responded with its second penalty corner of the night in the 15th minute, but the Penn defense blocked the original take. However, just one minute later Lehigh would knot the game at one. The Mountain Hawks were not content with the tie game and added a second goal in the 19th minute, giving them the 2-1 advantage.
Trying to reverse Lehigh's momentum, Tahan took another run at the goal, but her attempt would go wide of the cage and Lehigh would hold onto its 2-1 lead. The Mountain Hawks would quickly take back the possession and in the 25th minute of play, Lehigh would get its third goal of the game and take the 3-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Not content with the two goal lead, the Mountain Hawks took another pair of shots in the 28th minute. Kieran Sweeney would come up with a save on the first attempt, denying Lehigh's original attempt at the fourth goal of the game. However, the rebound would find its way onto a Lehigh stick and into the back of the goal, giving the hosts the 4-1 lead with seven minutes to play in the first half.
Corcoran attempted to cut Penn's deficit with just over a minute remaining in the half, but a defensive save by the second most proficient team in the country at doing so prevented the second Penn goal of the evening. With no offensive opportunities for the remainder of the half, Penn went into the break trailing 4-1 despite outshooting the Mountain Hawks 11-8 in the first half. Penn also held a 7-6 advantage in shots on goal in the first 35 minutes.
With the early deficit, Penn knew that it needed to come at firing in the second half and the Quakers would do just that. Just over three minutes into the final 35 minutes, Corcoran got the first shot of the half on goal, but it was saved.
Just over two minutes after Corcoran's shot was saved, Tahan took a perfect feed from Snyder and found the back of the net in the 42nd minute of play. For Tahan, it was her team-leading fourth goal of the season and for Snyder it was her third assist of the year, tying her for the team lead in that category.
After the goal, Penn earned another short corner attempt and Tahan, who was looking for her second goal of the game, pushed her attempt wide of the cage, but the constant pressure forced Lehigh to use its timeout. In the 47th minute, Corcoran would have yet another shot denied by Segear.
In the 50th minute of play, Tahan would be denied no longer as she took the pass from Corcoran and with just the goalie to beat did just that, taking the keeper low to bring the Quakers with one. For Tahan, it was the first time in her collegiate career that she had scored twice in one game and it was the second assist of Corcoran's season.
In the 52nd minute of play, Sweeney came up with two big saves in a span of 20 seconds to keep Lehigh from stretching its lead back out, but the Quakers still trailed with just over 18 minutes of play left in the game.
In the 55th minute of play, Penn earned a short corner with the chance to tie the game up. Sarah Hasson took the orignial shot off the insert, but her first take of the night was saved. Snyder would also get a chance, but another save followed.
Penn would get its next chance in the 58th minute when Iqbal made another run at her second goal of the night, but the Lehigh goalie stood her ground and made the save. Lehigh earned one of its few chances in the second half with a penalty corner in the 64th minute, but the Penn defense did not allow a shot.
With just around four minutes remaining, Penn took its timeout to try and set the stage for the dramatic tying goal. Just under two minutes after taking the timeout, MaryRose Croddick took her first shot of the season, but her attempt was blocked. Snyder would try the same thing immediately after, only to have that shot blocked as well. In the 69th minute of play, Penn earned another penalty corner and Corcoran got her shot on goal, but Segear was again in the right place to make the save.
With just under a minute to play, Kyle deSandes-Moyer took her first shot of the game and again Segear came up with a much-needed save. The Quakers would get one final shot attempt with just around 30 seconds to play in regulation but Tahan's seventh shot of the night went wide of the cage and Lehigh escaped with the 4-3 victory at home.
For Penn, Tahan finished with a team-high seven shots, while Corcoran finished with five shots. Both Snyder and Iqbal registered four more shots in the 24 shot team total. Hasson recorded two shots, while deSandes-Moyer, and Croddick each finished the night with one shot a piece.
Penn will now need to rest and recover as eight Quakers played the entire 70 minutes. In addition to Sweeney in net, Helene Caniglia, Caroline Olt, Mandy Epstein, Croddick, Corcoran, Iqbal, and Tahan all played 70 minutes in the field. Amelia Cohen, deSandes-Moyer, and Snyder also played 50-plus minutes each.
The Quakers will be back in action this Friday when the Ivy League schedule resumes with a game at Columbia. That game Friday will get underway at 6 p.m. The Quakers return home this Sunday for an 11 a.m. game against Appalachian State to conclude the busiest week of the season.