PHILADELPHIA - Field hockey once again had its chances on Sunday, but just could not finish the plays when it needed them most. For the second straight game, Penn (0-3) outshot its opponents, this time by an 18-15 margin. The Quakers also put 13 shots on goal compared to the Hawks 10. However, Saint Joseph's goalie Liz Messaros kept the Quakers' offense in check, making 10 saves, while allowing just one goal. Her defense also came up bigat crucial times in the game, making two key defensive saves to stop Penn's attack chances.
Despite the Quakers maintaining the overall lead in shots over the course of the entire game, Saint Joseph's came out of the gates strong in the opening five minutes. Just three minutes into the game, Mandy Epstein was needed to make the first defensive of her season, preventing the early Hawks goal. The Hawks had another chance just over five minutes into the game when they drew the first penalty corner of the contest. Reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Ellen Rowe would make the most of this early opportunity, scoring her fourth goal in five games. Theresa Testa picked up her first of two assists on the short corner.
Saint Joseph's would take another shot that went wide shortly after the first goal, but eventually the Quakers would settle in defensively. Taking the ball into the attacking zone, Julie Tahan got one shot off that was saved by Messaros, while Kirstin Snyder got three more shots off, one of which was saved by Messaros and another shot had to be stopped by the Hawks' defense, which prevented Snyder from tallying the equalizer. All four shots came within a span of less than two minutes and it looked like just a matter of time until the Quakers would beat the Hawks' defense.
Reversing fields, Saint Joseph's then went on the offensive with three penalty corners of its own within a four minute span, but the Penn defense held and kept the margin at one. After three penalty corners for the Hawks, Penn had two penalty corners of its own. Tahan and Alex Iqbal would get shots off on chances, but neither could convert. With the ball in the circle, Emily Corcoran also got a shot on goal, but would also be denied.
Saint Joseph's would then get the ball in transition and quickly change fields, but Kieran Sweeney, who was making her second consecutive start in goal, was up to the challenge as she made two saves, keeping Penn in the game. After the two saves, Saint Joseph's got four consecutive chances at the short corner. Sweeney made one save and the Quaker defense did not allow a shot on the other two attempts, but the fourth penalty corner was put away with just over two minutes in the first half, making the score 2-0 at halftime.
Starting out the second half, Saint Joseph's once again came out strong with two shots and a penalty corner, which prompted a Quaker timeout to allow Penn to settle down. After the early second half timeout, Penn got settled in and much of the play took place in the midfield for the next fifteen minutes. Saint Joseph's would then gain some traction offensively and earned a penalty corner in the 55th minute. The original shot would go wide, but keeping the ball in the Penn defensive zone, Sweeney would make one save, but Ashlee Willis would bang home the loose ball in front, stretching the lead to three.
With less than 15 minutes to play, Penn went on the offensive with Sarah Hasson and Corcoran getting shots on net, only to be denied by Messaros. After the pair of shots, the Quakers earned two penalty corners but Iqbal had both of her original shots blocked. A follow up shot by Helene Caniglia a minute later would be stopped with the second defensive save of the day for Saint Joseph's. A third penalty corner followed and Iqbal would get her third attempt on goal, but Messaros continued to hold the Penn attack off the board.
Finally, in the 63rd minute of play, Snyder beat the goalie for her first goal of the season following a penalty corner. On the play, Corcoran picked up her first collegiate point with an assist. Trying to further spur on the comeback attempt, Snyder would get a final shot off with just under four minutes to go in the game, but that would be the last offensive attack for the Quakers on the day.
For the game, five different players put shots on net, led by Snyder's eight shots, six of which were on target. Corcoran also put all three of her shots on goal, while Tahan did the same with her two attempts. Hasson and Iqbal finished with one attempt each on goal. For Penn, three freshmen, Iqbal, Croddick, and Caniglia played the entire 70 minutes. Epstein and Sweeney also played the entire duration of the game. Playing her second consecutive full contest in goal, Sweeney finished the day with six saves.
The Quakers will get their first chance of the season to play in front of the home crowd this Wednesday when Lafayette comes to Franklin Field for a 7:15 start. This will serve as the final test before Ivy play starts as Cornell will come to Philadelphia next Saturday at noon. That field hockey game will be followed by the first football game of the 2011 season.
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