WHAT TO KNOW:
*Penn opened the season with a 2-0 win over Lehigh to begin the 2016 season. Junior Gina Guiccione tallied both goals to help lift the Red and Blue to the victory.
*The Quakers improved to 20-23-1 all-time in season openers with the win, while head coach Colleen Fink moved to 4-3 in season openers since 2010.
*The Red and Blue dominated on the offensive end, outshooting Lehigh by a 20-6 margin. They also led by a decisive 13-5 margin in penalty corners for the match.
*The Quakers return to action on Sunday when they host No. 1 North Carolina at Ellen Vagelos Field. Game time is slated for 11:30 a.m.
PHILADELPHIA – Two goals by Gina Guccione lifted the University of Pennsylvania to a decisive 2-0 victory over the visiting Lehigh Mountain Hawks in what was a showcase of offensive power for the hosting Quakers.
With the win, Penn improved to 20-23-1 all-time in season openers in while head coach Colleen Fink moved to 4-3 in opening matches during her time at the helm of the Red and Blue. Lehigh fell to 1-2 overall with the defeat while the Quakers moved to 1-0 overall.
From start to finish, Penn had a firm grasp on the match and started strong in the opening 35 minutes of play. The Quakers were all offense in the first stanza, outshooting the Mountain Hawks by a 12-0 margin and a 9-0 advantage in penalty corners for the period. Despite the lopsided advantage, the Red and Blue had several close calls in finding the back of the cage but couldn’t connect to take the lead.
Action broke open following intermission, with Lehigh earning a penalty corner in the 38th minute that was stifled by the Penn defense. The Quakers regained their momentum in the ensuing minutes and made several pushes towards their attacking circle to put the Mountain Hawks on their heels in their defensive third of the field.
In the 52nd minute, Guccione received a pass at the top of the circle and took a back-footed shot that nailed the left back of the cage as the Quakers took a 1-0 lead with 18 minutes left in regulation.
In the waning minutes of the match, the junior forward struck again in the 69th minute when she connected on a one-on-one breakaway to net to put the Red and Blue up 2-0. The goal would to be enough to hold off Lehigh as the Quakers solidified the win on their home turf for a solid start to the 2016 season.
Alexa Hoover led the Quakers with 10 shots and placed five on goal. Defensively, junior goalkeeper Liz Mata tallied three saves in the win while Lehigh’s Julia Ward made nine saves in the defeat.
Penn returns to action in just a few short days when they host top-ranked North Carolina on Sunday, September 4th. Game time is slated for 11:30 a.m. at Ellen Vagelos Field.