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Penn Outlasts Lady Flames, 5-4
A second-half surge by the Liberty field hockey team was not enough as the Penn Quakers held off the Lady Flames, 5-4, on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg. Liberty has now dropped two in a row and falls to 2-3 on the season, while Penn continues its hot start and improves to 3-0.
The Quakers jumped on the board at the 23:05 mark of the first half as Sunny Stirewalt collected the rebound off of a Emily Corcoran shot attempt and knocked it by Liberty goalie Brooke Morley to put Penn up 1-0.
Liberty responded as Megan Johnson deflected a Natalie Barr shot past Penn goalie Carly Sokach, knotting the score at one. Johnson's second goal of the season came with 10:50 left in the opening half.
Penn answered with two late first-half goals to take the 3-1 advantage into the locker room.
The first half saw Penn hold the advantage in shots, 8-4, and penalty corners, 3-2.
The Quakers pushed their lead to three, at 4-1, just one minute and 24 seconds into the second half. Amelia Cohen fired a shot on goal that was turned away by Morley, but Cohen was able to gather the loose ball and sneak it into the back of the cage for her second goal of the game.
The Lady Flames' offense did not go quietly in the second half. After five shot attempts that were turned away by Sokach and the rest of the Penn defense, Liberty's Natalie Barr scored her first career goal via an assist from Helen Doolittle off of a penalty corner opportunity.
Less than three minutes later, with 18:53 remaining in the game, Barr made a quick move to get past a Penn defender on the baseline and flicked a shot into the cage to cut the Quakers' lead to one at 4-3.
Penn slowed Liberty's momentum as Julie Tahan dove and tipped a Helene Caniglia pass into the goal to stretch the lead back to two (5-3) with less than 12 minutes remaining in the contest.
Down two, the Lady Flames continued to battle down the stretch. Shots by Erin Bartley and Natalie Barr were both saved by Sokach.
With 5:42 left in the game, Liberty was awarded its eighth penalty corner of the contest. Ashlee Krulock inserted the ball into the top of the circle and Liberty moved the ball around until Sarah Gipe redirected a Bartley pass into the goal to trim the lead to one at 5-4. The goal was Gipe's third of the season. It was Bartley's first assist of her career.
At the 2:38 mark of the second half, Barr nearly scored her third goal of the contest as she was able to maneuver between defenders and get the shot past Sokach, but Penn defender Alex Agathis came up with the defensive save to keep the Quakers' lead intact.
The game would come down to the final play as Liberty was awarded a penalty corner with 0:00 showing on the clock. Krulock again fired a ball into the top of the circle and Barr ripped a ball towards the goal, but the attempt was saved by Sokach to end the game and give Penn the 5-4 victory.
Liberty controlled the second half recording, 14 shots to Penn's seven and notching eight penalty corners to the Quakers' two.
For the game Liberty had 18 shots and 10 penalty corners, while Penn recorded 15 shots and five penalty corners.
Barr's two goal performance ties Liberty's single-game record.
Sokach stopped 11 shots for Penn, while Liberty's Morley saved six.
Liberty takes to the road for its first-ever NorPac conference match on Sept. 16 at Radford. Game time is set for 1 p.m.