PHILADELPHIA - On an absolutely picture-perfect day, the University of Pennsylvania field hockey team christened the new Ellen Vagelos Field with a dramatic, 4-3 win over Cornell.
The game was the Ivy League opener for both teams, and was a nice revenge for last year when the Quakers were knocked around the Big Red, 4-0.
This day was special, though, and Penn did everything in its power to keep it that way. The Quakers never trailed in the match, although they wilted a bit down the stretch and had to count on goalkeeper Carly Sokach to keep them in the lead until the final horn.
It took Penn all of 33 seconds to break in the new Astroturf complex with a goal, Julie Tahan moving the ball into the middle from the left side and Emily Corcoran finishing the play. It was Corcoran’s third goal of the young season.
Cornell needed less than five minutes to respond. Elly Plappert ran the ball into the circle along the right side and rifled a shot from distance that beat Sokach’s right boot and tucked inside the far post.
Nearly 10 minutes went by before Penn again took the lead. Off a short corner, MaryRose Croddick played a ball to Jasmine Cole and she quickly fired a shot past Cornell goalkeeper Carolyn Horner. Cornell tied it again, less than three minutes after that, when Marisa Sierglej converted a short corner.
Penn took the lead again just ahead of halftime, again off a short corner. This time Corcoran passed it directly to Cole, whose shot was tipped by a Cornell defender and went over Horner’s head under the crossbar. The Quakers’ lead was 3-2 at the break.
Penn doubled its lead nearly 10 minutes into the second half. Cole scored again – her second hat trick in the last three games – and she needed no help this time. Again taking a corner from Corcoran, she curled the ball up and over Horner’s left shoulder and into the netting.
Cornell outshot Penn by a whopping 14-2 margin in the second half, but the Big Red could only get one of the goals back. That came only 1:22 after the Quakers’ fourth goal, as Plappert rebounded a shot into the back of the net.
Plappert had a great chance to tie the game late when Cornell was awarded a penalty stroke, but Sokach was equal to the task and denied her the hat trick. For the game, Sokach made 12 saves.
Penn returns to action again on Sunday, hosting Pacific at noon on Ellen Vagelos Field. The Quakers will also be home on Wednesday, facing city foe La Salle at 4 p.m.