PHILADELPHIA - Field hockey closed out its four games in eight days stretch with its strongest offensive performance of the season. The Quakers won each half, scoring three goals in the first 35 minutes and closing the game with two in the second half. Appalachian State scored just once in each half as Penn came away with the 5-2 victory.
Alex Iqbal recorded the hat trick to boost the Penn attack, while Helene Caniglia and Kirstin Snyder also found the back of the net for the winners. Iqbal's hat trick was the first for Penn since 2009, when Laurel McGarvie did the same thing against Saint Francis. Julie Tahan recorded two assists Sunday, while Sarah Hasson and Abigail Egan each recorded their first assists of the season. Using a combination of Kieran Sweeney and Carly Sokach in goal, Penn turned away eight of Appalachian State's 10 shots on goal.
Right from the start, Penn came out strong. Shortly after the opening pass, Tahan took her first shot of the game, but it went just wide of the cage. The Quakers would maintain the offensive advantage and earn their first penalty corner just two and half minutes in. Caniglia would insert the ball for play and she would receive it back from Tahan and put away the first goal just 2:35 into the game. For Caniglia it was just the sixth shot of her freshman campaign; however, she has made the most of her shots, scoring on four of the six. Tahan was credited with her team-leading fifth assist on the goal.
Just under a minute later, Snyder would find the back of the net for the second game in a row. Once Penn got control of the ball in the circle, it would work its way around to Snyder. She would finish from close range, giving Penn the 2-0 lead just 3:25 into the game. For Snyder it was her third goal of the season and in the process she broke her previous season high in points scored. She now has 10 points for the year.
The 2-0 deficit would prompt a Mountaineer timeout to regroup. Appalachian State would get its first offensive chance of the game in the seventh minute with a penalty corner, but the shot went wide of net. In the 12th minute of play, Appalachian State would try and get back into the game when Jessi Stuart took a pass from right outside the circle and finished to cut the Penn lead in half, making the score 2-1 just 11:22 into the game.
The Moutaineers would try and tie the game up in the 13th minute, but a save by Sweeney, who started the game and played the first 35 minutes in goal prevented the first attempt and a defensive save by MaryRose Croddick kept the equalizer out of the goal. On the play, Croddick became the third defensive player to record multiple defensive saves this season, joining Mandy Epstein and Caniglia.
Penn would regain its momentum in the 16th minute of play, when Tahan and Hasson recorded back-to-back shots, but both attempts on goal were saved. Following Hasson's shot; the Quakers earned the short corner, but could not get a shot on goal. In the 19th minute of play, the Quakers earned another penalty corner and would get the shot off this time, but Emily Corcoran's attempt went wide of the goal. Quickly reversing field position, Appalachian State would get its own shot off, but Sweeney was there to make the save.
In the 21st minute of play, Penn earned its fourth penalty corner of the first half, but a defensive save by the Mountaineers would prevent Corcoran from netting Penn's third goal of the half. After the original defensive save, the Quakers would not have to wait much longer as Iqbal found the back of the cage just one minute later for her first goal of the season. Hasson assisted on the play for her first helper of the season. This goal gave Penn a 3-1 lead just under 22 minutes into the opening half.
The Mountaineers would get a chance to pull it back to a one-goal game at the 24 minute mark with a penalty corner, but the Quakers' defense held the attack without a shot. Tahan would get another shot on goal in the first half at the 25 minute mark, but her shot would be saved.
In the 30th minute of play, Corcoran would have another shot on goal that was saved by the goalie. Appalachian State earned its third and final short corner of the first half in the 33rd minute, but the shot went wide.
Not content with the 3-1 lead, Penn put two more shots on goal to close the half strong, but Hasson's shot on goal was saved, while Snyder's shot went wide of the net as Penn took the 3-1 lead into the break. In the first half, the Quakers outshot Appalachian State, 12-6, and held a 4-3 edge in penalty corners.
To start the second half, the Quakers went with Sokach in goal. Snyder opened the second half offense with a shot on goal, but this run at goal was saved just over two minutes into the second half. Sokach would be tested early on as a shot just 20 seconds after Snyder's came into Penn's defensive circle, but the freshman goalie was in position to make the stop.
After the quick transition offense of Appalachian State, Penn would showcase its transition game, quickly reversing fields and taking it deep in Mountaineer territory. From there, Iqbal would finish her second goal of the game with a diving effort on a pass from Egan. For Egan, it was the first assist of her season. Iqbal's second goal of the game gave Penn its biggest offensive output of the season and gave the Quakers a 4-1 lead with just over 30 minutes to play.
From the 41st through 49th minute, the Mountaineers would get two short corners and take two shots on goal, but the original penalty corner shot went wide and the second shot was saved by Sokach. The second short corner attempt also went wide. Reversing fields, Amelia Cohen would get her first shot of the game that went just wide of goal a short time later. Less than two minutes after her first shot, Cohen would place her second attempt on goal, but would be stopped by the Mountaineer goalie.
In the 58th minute, Iqbal would complete the hat trick with her third goal of the game. The ball worked its way into the circle and Tahan put an attempt right on goal and Iqbal was there for the tip-in past the Mountaineer defense for her third goal of the game, giving Penn the 5-1 lead. Tahan's assist was the second of the game for her and the sixth of the season.
Right after the fifth goal, Sokach was again called upon to make the save on a penalty corner to keep Penn's four goal advantage. In the 61st minute, Penn attempted another short corner, but could not get the shot away. In the 63rd minute of play, Penn continued to try and grow its lead as Sunny Stirewalt and Snyder each recorded shots on goal that were saved by the Mountaineers' replacement goalie. Following the first two shots, the Quakers earned a short corner try and Tahan would push her shot just wide of the cage.
Appalachian State would get its second goal of the game in the 66th minute of play on a penalty corner to bring the game within three at 5-2. The Mountaineers in their desperation offense earned two more penalty corners in the waning minutes, but the first shot went wide and Sokach made the play on Appalachian State's final shot on goal.
For the game, Penn finished with 20 shots on six penalty corner tries. Tahan and Snyder each finished with a team-high four shots. Iqbal was efficient, scoring on all three of her shots, while Corcoran also had three shots for the game. Hasson and Cohen added two shots, while Caniglia and Stirewalt each had one.
Playing the first half in goal, Sweeney was not tested often, but came up with two saves. Sokach saw slightly more activity in front of the net and made five saves during the final 35 minutes. Sweeney earned the victory in goal, her third of the season.
After this grueling stretch of games, the Quakers will be off for a week before getting back into Ivy League play against Yale at home next Sunday at 1 p.m.