PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team got out to a big lead, nearly gave all of it up, but recovered and ended up holding off Yale, 4-2, Saturday afternoon at Ellen Vagelos Field.
The Quakers improved to 12-2 on the season, and are now 4-1 in Ivy League play; they remain a game behind Princeton in the Ivy standings, after the Tigers scored two second-half goals to down Harvard, 2-1. Yale is now 2-11 overall, 0-5 in Ivy play.
Sophomore Alexa Hoover and senior Elizabeth Hitti, two of the most dynamic scorers in the country, were at it again on Saturday as both scored once and dished out two assists. For Hitti, the two assists give her 16 for the season and 32 for her career. Both of those marks are tied for the program record with Nancy Lock, who had 16 assists in 1980 and collected 32 assists from 1978-81.
Penn opened the scoring eight minutes into the contest. Off a penalty corner, Hoover pushed a shot in front of the goal and junior captain Elise Tilton re-directed it past Yale GK Emilie Katz.
Freshman Sofia Palacios made it 2-0 less than seven minutes later. This time, Hoover turned toward goal from the left side of the circle and fired the ball toward the goal. Palacios was in front and got a stick on it to re-direct it past Katz.
Penn’s lead grew to 3-0 early in the second half, when a Hitti shot was deflected by a Yale defender into the goal. At that point, it appeared the Quakers were well on their way to victory.
Yale had other thoughts. The Bulldogs scored twice in a span of 5:18 off a pair of corners, the first off the stick of Carol Middough and the second when Kiwi Comizio re-directed a Middough shot. That made the score 3-2 with more than 20 minutes to play.
Penn head coach Colleen Fink called timeout, and the Quakers came out a little more settled. Nerves were put much more at ease when Tilton sent a ball into the circle, and Hoover cheekily re-directed it past the Yale goalkeeper to double the Quakers’ lead. It was the sophomore’s 27th goal this season, and left her three shy of tying the Penn record for career goals. As it turned out, Hoover’s tally closed out the scoring in the match.
Penn outshot Yale in the match, 26-8, and forced Katz -- one of the national leaders in saves per game and save percentage -- to make 11 stops on Saturday. At the other end, Liz Mata had three saves in the Penn goal.
Penn has two more games left; the Quakers are at Brown for an Ivy League match next Saturday at noon, then host Princeton in two weeks at noon.
Download: Penn14 (Yale).pdf