PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Field hockey took care of Brown on the road Saturday afternoon in a rain/sleet-soaked affair. Penn came away with the 3-2 victory for its first win on the road since their first road game of the 2010 season. The win also marks the second Ivy League victory of the season and the fourth overall victory. Both of these marks are an improvement from last season. The win also guarantees the Quakers finish in at least sixth place in the Ivy League, also an improvement over last season.
Despite the narrow 3-2 win, the Quakers dominated the play for long stretches of the game on Saturday. The Quakers held a 27-17 advantage in shots and 12-9 advantage in shots on goal. Alex Iqbal scored her fourth and fifth goals of the season, including the game-winner in the second half. Both of her goals were unassisted. Those goals were sandwiched around Kirstin Snyder's fifth goal of the season, assisted by Julie Tahan.
Iqbal put the Quakers up early 1-0, but Penn found itself trailing after two quick goals from the Bears. However, Penn would pull even before the end of first half on Snyder's goal and Iqbal would net the game-winner with just 17 minutes to go in the second half. Kieran Sweeney made seven saves to come away with her fourth win of the season.
Action got underway with each side getting their first shots of the game within the first five minutes. Brown took the first shot of the game, but Sweeney was in position to make the early save. Helene Caniglia took Penn's first shot of the game, but her attempt was also saved. The Quakers drew the first penalty corner of the game just under six minutes into play, but were unable to come away with the early goal.
After a pair Brown substitutions, Penn amped up the pressure on the Bears' defense. Iqbal and Amelia Cohen each sent shots wide of the goal in the ninth and tenth minutes respectively. Just 13 seconds after Cohen's shot, Tahan took her first crack at putting the Quakers on the board, but her shot also went wide of the target. Brown earned its first penalty corner of the game at the 14 minute mark, but Sweeney came up with save and the shot off the rebound went wide of the goal.
Penn quickly transitioned back to the attacking zone and Tahan took another shot on goal, but this was also saved. Finally, after controlling the play, Penn would convert its second penalty corner of the game into an Iqbal goal, her fourth of the season. This marked the fourth straight game that Penn had scored first and also extended the Quakers' consecutive games with a goal streak to 15.
Brown would answer Penn's goal in the 15th minute with one of its own in the 18th minute to tie the game at one. Immediately following the equalizer, Tahan tried to put Penn back on top with two more shots, but again the Brown keeper was in position for the stop.
Using their own transition game, the Bears again reversed fields and earned a penalty stroke opportunity at the 21 minute mark. Sweeney would then come up with the huge save to keep the game knotted at one. However, just a half minute after not capitalizing on the stroke, Brown would find the back of the net, taking the 2-1 lead.
Shortly after Brown took the 2-1 advantage, Tahan put herself in a one-on-one position with the goalie, but her shot sailed just wide of the cage; however, Penn was showing signs of picking up the offensive intensity.
On the its third penalty corner of the half, Penn would capitalize on the offensive pressure. Caniglia inserted the ball to Tahan who found Snyder on the near post for the tip-in goal, tying the game at two. For Snyder, it was the fifth goal of her senior campaign and the 10th goal of her Penn career. Tahan recorded her team-leading eighth assist on the play.
Each side would have one more chance in the opening half following the 29th minute goal. Brown would have a final penalty corner chance in the half, but the Quakers' defense would hold them without a shot. Tahan would then see her last shot of the first half saved. Despite Penn outshooting the Bears 11-7 in the first half, the two squads went into the break tied. Tahan took six of Penn's shots in the first half, with four on goal.
Brown opened the second half on the offensive attack, but Penn was able to defend two consecutive penalty corners. The Quakers' defense blocked the first attempt and Sweeney made the save on the second corner try. Transitioning to the attack, Cohen sent a shot wide, but Penn would earn another short corner try. Tahan would get a pair of shots off, but her original shot was saved and the second went just wide of the cage.
Brown again tried to transition back to Penn's defensive zone, but another blocked shot and save by Sweeney kept the Brown attack at bay. The Quakers would work the ball back into their attacking zone and would unleash a fury of shots when they established position. In the 47th minute, Snyder and Sarah Hasson each had their first shots saved, while Iqbal's run at a second goal went wide of the cage.
Tahan then kept up her persistent effort on the attack with three more shots. Her first two shots were blocked by the Bears' defense and the third shot was again on goal, but saved. Emily Corcoran then recorded her first shot of the game, but her take went wide. The constant pressure from the Penn attack forced the Bears' bench to use a timeout to try and settle down.
Just thirty seconds out of the timeout, Iqbal showed that the timeout would not slow the Penn momentum. She received the ball near midfield and carried all the way into the right side of the circle. From there, she unleashed a shot to the far side and beat the keeper to give the Quakers a 3-2 lead. This was Iqbal's second goal of the game and her fifth of the season. The Quakers' goal came with just 17 minutes to play in the game.
After a Sweeney save preserved the Penn lead, Penn took three more shots with the first two going wide and the third shot being blocked. The Quakers did earn their first of two consecutive penalty corners on the blocked shot. On each of the two corners, Tahan would continue to take shots, but strong defense by Brown blocked the tries before they could reach the goal.
Penn looked to be in control with the ball in its offensive zone and 10 minutes to play, but the Bears had one last push in them that would make the Quakers defend up until the very last minute. In the final eight minutes of play, the Bears earned six penalty corners. The first penalty corner was again blocked by great Penn defense and the Quakers held without a shot allowed on the second. Sweeney made the save on the third corner and the shot went wide on the fourth.
The Quakers looked to clear the zone, but two minutes after the fourth penalty corner, Brown would not go away easily and came back with its final two chances on short corners. The first attempt went wide of the goal and with just a minute and a half remaining; Penn's defense again held the Brown attack without a shot to hold onto the 3-2 win.
For Penn, seven different players finished with a shot. Tahan took a game-high 13 shots with six on goal. Iqbal finished with six shots and her two shots on target were both goals. Corcoran, Cohen, and Snyder each finished the game with a pair of shots, while Caniglia and Iqbal each took one shot.
Penn will now be home for its final game of the 2011 season against Princeton next Friday at 7 p.m. Before the game, Penn's five seniors - Erin Healy, Caroline Olt, Abigail Egan, Snyder, and Sweeney - will all be honored in the pregame festivities.
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