PHILADELPHIA – Two years ago, the University of Pennsylvania hosted Princeton in a game that had Ivy League championship and NCAA postseason ramifications for both teams. A seasoned Tigers squad easily dispatched the Quakers that day, 5-1.
On Saturday, history repeated itself. Again, these teams met on Ellen Vagelos Field. Again, a Princeton win would give the Tigers the outright Ivy title. Again, a Penn win would give the Quakers a share of the crown with the Tigers, but Penn also would earn the Ivy’s accompanying NCAA bid.
This time, it was a lot closer. In fact, overtime was needed before Princeton decided it just 2:35 into the extra period and gained a 2-1 victory in front of an overflow crowd. With the win, Princeton won the Ivy League championship outright at 7-0, while Penn fell to 13-3 overall and finished 5-2 in Ivy play. Because of their record, the Quakers will pay attention when the NCAA field is selected on Sunday night, but even they would have to admit an at-large bid is a long-shot.
Princeton had a great opportunity just six minutes in, when Maddie Copeland re-directed a shot from the top of the circle. However, Penn goalkeeper Liz Mata -- who was prone at the time of the re-direct -- stuck a glove up and parried it away.
Princeton scored shortly after that. A shot in front was re-directed by Maddie Copeland, the senior’s 16th goal this season to give the Tigers the early advantage.
The lead lasted nearly the entire rest of the game, a total of 60 minutes and one second of game time. In the interim, this game was played primarily in the midfield. (When the game was over, Princeton had only taken eight shots and Penn had taken seven.)
It was Selena Garzio who drew Penn level. With just 3:05 left in regulation, she controlled a penalty corner play-in from Elizabeth Hitti and rifled a shot along the ground that passed Princeton goalkeeper Anya Gersoff’s right side and tucked inside the near post. That set off pandemonium, and the Quakers were able to sustain that to overtime.
Princeton won the coin toss to start overtime, passed the opening ball back, then sent it deep into Penn territory. The Quakers never got it out. The winning goal came when Sophia Tornetta sent a ball across the goalmouth from the left side, and Ryan McCarthy got a stick on it near hip level and pushed it into an open goal.
Saturday's match was the first for four Penn seniors: Hitti, Alex Agathis, Stephanie Honig, and Nicole Mackin. The Class of 2016 graduates with 43 career wins, which is two shy of the program record 45 held by the Class of 1990.
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