Field Hockey Holds Sacred Heart at Bay, 5-2

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PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team got a hat trick from sophomore Alexa Hoover, her third already this season, and used that for a 5-2 win over Sacred Heart Sunday at Ellen Vagelos Field.

Hoover has already scored more goals this season (15) than she had all of last season (14), when she led the Ivy League in scoring. Last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year -- who has scored in every game so far this season -- entered the weekend leading the nation in goals and points per game.

Sacred Heart has lost three games to Ivy League teams already this season, and that script was holding form early on. Hoover scored off an Elizabeth Hitti feed just 11 minutes into the match, and shortly after that she fed Rachel Huang to give the Quakers a 2-0 lead.

Sacred Heart stunned everyone, however, by scoring just 23 seconds after Huang’s goal, Nicole Tolli converting a low-angle shot from the right side. SHU then had a great chance to tie it late in the first half, but Liz Mata cut down the angle and made the save.

Penn (5-1), which has won five straight games, put this one to bed with the first three goals of the second half. The first came when an Alex Agathis shot was blocked by a defender’s foot, leading to a penalty stroke that Hoover converted. The sophomore then completed her hat trick 10 minutes later, rebounding a Sofic Palacios shot in front and hitting a turnaround shot. Selena Garzio made it 5-1 after Palacios played the ball into the circle from the left side and found her classmate in front.

Sacred Heart scored late on a breakaway, as Danielle Gallagher broke through the defense and found Lauren Lawson for the conversion.

Penn outshot Sacred Heart 32-4 in the game, and forced SHU goalkeeper Mary Altepeter to make 14 saves. At the other end, Mata had one stop.

Penn finishes this three-game homestand on Friday, hosting Cornell in the Ivy League opener for both teams. A reminder that the game will face off at noon, due to the impending World Meeting of Families and visit by the Pope to Philadelphia over the weekend.

Download: Penn06 (Sacred Heart).pdf