PHILADELPHIA - For the second consecutive game Emily Corcoran found the back of the net, but Villanova's Jessica Swoboda Kieran Zambon each tallied as the Wildcats (4-4) came away with the 2-1 victory in non-conference action between the city rivals. Despite allowing 13 penalty corners and 18 shots, Kieran Sweeney kept the Quakers in the game with a season-high 12 saves on the night.
Right from the opening whistle, Villanova came out aggressively in the offensive zone and got three shots on target in just over six minutes of play. Nonetheless, Sweeney was sharp from the start as she turned away all three of those chances. After the third shot, the Wildcats earned the first penalty corner of the evening, but could not get a shot away as the Quakers began to settle into their game plan.
Just over 10 minutes into the first half, Penn got its first shot of the game from Emily Corcoran, but her attempt was also turned aside. Following the Penn offensive possession, Villanova reversed fields and got another shot on goal, only to be turned away by Sweeney. The Wildcats earned a penalty corner in the process, but again were held without a shot on the try.
With Villanova holding the majority of the offensive play, Kirstin Snyder then got into her offensive zone and took her first shot of the night, but that too was saved as both goalies were strong in net. Penn would earn its second penalty corner of the evening just under 20 minutes into play, but again could not capitalize.
Villanova would take charge in the 23rd minute of play following a penalty corner. It would not get the shot off on the original corner, but after a restart outside of the circle it would get another chance at the early goal and Zambon would give Villanova the early 1-0 lead.
Corcoran would make sure that lead did not last for long when she broke loose less than a minute after the Wildcats' goal and ripped a shot from just inside the circle and into the top corner of the cage, knotting the game at one. For Corcoran, who also scored the game-winning goal against Cornell, it was her second goal in as many games for the freshman attacker. For Penn, this was also the first goal of the season to come in the first 35 minutes of play. All four of the previous goals had come in the second half of games.
Just as soon as Penn looked to have the momentum back on its side, Villanova had the chance to take six short corners in the next five-plus minutes of play. The Wildcats would take two shots on goal and one of their attempts went wide and the Quakers came out with the tie still intact. At the other end of the field, Penn would earn its own pair of penalty corners, but again could not capitalize on the opportunity. Villanova would have one final short corner in the closing minute of the half, but once again the Penn defense held its ground as the two sides went to the half tied at one.
Play was much more controlled to start the second half as neither side gained any advantage for nearly 10 minutes. Just under the 10 minute mark, Penn earned its first penalty corner of the second half. With the ball in the Penn offensive zone, Alex Iqbal would make a run at putting Penn on top, but her shot was also saved. Two minutes later, the Quakers earned another penalty corner and this time it was Julie Tahan who got the shot off, but the end result was still a save. The Quakers would earn their third penalty corner with the ball in the offensive zone, but were held without an attempt on this try.
In the 58th minute of play, Villanova would get its second goal of the game following a scramble in front of the Quakers' goal. After two shots were saved by Sweeney in front of the net, Swoboda gained possession and banged home the rebound for her fifth goal of the season.
With the lead and momentum, Villanova earned two more penalty corners in the next two minutes following the goal and had three shots on goal during that span, but Sweeney in position on all three.
With less than 10 minutes remaining to play, Penn would get its final scoring chance of the evening coming on a pair of short corners. On the first attempt to tie the game up, the Quakers offense went without a shot, but earned a second corner in the process. On the second try, Corcoran tried to add her second tally of the night, but her shot went wide of the frame. The Wildcats would earn two final corners in the last five minutes of play, but would manage just one shot that went wide.
As time was expiring, Penn tried desperately to transition the ball into the offensive zone time running out, but could not get the ball into the circle to try a shot to tie up the game.
For Penn, four players got shots off, led by Corcoran's three. Snyder, Tahan, and Iqbal each added one. Villanova held the edge in penalty corners over Penn, 13-9, but Penn had six short corners in the second half, compared with the Wildcats three during the final 35 minutes. Villanova also outshot Penn with each side splitting their shots evenly between the two halves.
For Penn, eight players played the entire 70 minutes. In addition to the three defensive field players, Caroline Olt, Mandy Epstein, and MaryRose Croddick, plus Sweeney in goal, Kyle deSandes-Moyer, Helene Caniglia, Corcoran, and Iqbal also played the entire duration.
Penn will now hit the road for its second Ivy League game of the season. This Saturday the team will travel to Harvard for a noon start. Harvard fell to Yale in the opening weekend of Ivy League play, while Penn will be looking to keep its positioning at the top of the Ivy League standings with another Ivy League victory.
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