LYNCHBURG, Va. - The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team’s opening game at Liberty was delayed 40 minutes.
The action after that was as dramatic as the weather that preceded the match. Penn went down by a pair of goals; came back to tie things before halftime; took a lead in the second half; but then saw Liberty score twice in a span of 1:56 to gain a late, 4-3 win.
Alexa Hoover, last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year and the Ancient Eight's leading scorer in 2014, recorded an unanswered hat trick midway through the game to power the Penn attack.
Liberty (2-0) had a 2-0 lead less than 17 minutes into the contest, thanks to goals from Bethany Barr and Ashlee Krulock.
However, Penn showed fight in getting back into it before the break. Hoover opened the Quakers' account off an Alex Agathis feed in the 30th minute, then leveled the game at 2-2 with just 1:24 left before halftime with an assist going to Selena Garzio.
The sophomore standout then gave Penn the 3-2 lead with 17:36 left in regulation, re-directing an Elizabeth Hitti pass in front of Liberty goalkeeper Mallory Cuccio.
Krulock tied the game back up with just 5:41 left in regulation, and then Serena Barr gave the Flames a lead they would not relinquish with just 3:45 to play.
Liberty outshot Penn in the game, 22-11, as Liz Mata finished with seven saves in the Quakers cage. At the other end, Cuccio had five stops.
Penn returns to action on Sunday, facing off with Longwood in Farmville, Va., at 11 a.m.
Download: Penn01 (@Liberty).pdf