October 29, 2011

Bears Edged by Penn, 3-2, in Final Home Game of Season

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Brown field hockey team (4-12, 0-6) fought back from an early, 1-0, deficit and then went ahead, 2-1, but Penn (4-12, 2-4) would score back-to-back goals to earn a 3-2 victory over the Bears on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon at Warner Roof.

Brown fell behind, 1-0, 15:40 into the game when Alex Iqbal took the ball on a Penn corner play, dribbled to the right side of the circle and shot to the near corner. The goal came less than two minutes after the Bears had nearly taken the early lead on a corner of their own, but Quakers' goalie Kieran Sweeney saved an attempt by senior Bridget McNamara (Bethesda, MD) and then senior Leslie Springmeyer's (New Vernon, NJ) chance from the left post went just wide.

However, the Bears tied the score at 1-1 just three minutes later on freshman Meghan O'Donnell's (Winchester, MA) team-leading eighth goal of the year. Sophomore Maggie Brady (Tulsa, OK) reversed the ball towards the near post from the right side of the circle and O'Donnell was just able to tip it to the far side, tying the game at 18:54.

Brown had a golden opportunity to go ahead at the 20:58 mark when Springmeyer stepped in for a penalty stroke. However, her shot to the left side was saved by Sweeney's blocker, as the game remained tied at one. A great hustle play by O'Donnell set up the stroke, as she scooped up a lose ball near the 50, got around one defender and raced in on a one-on-one. After A Penn defender came in to attempt to stop the play, O'Donnell got around her, forcing Sweeney out of the cage. Sweeney came out, but tripped O'Donnell in the process.

The Bears did go up, 2-1, less than a minute later, however, as sophomore Torie Stearns (Rye, NY) tallied her fifth of the year at the 21:37 mark. Stearns' goal was nearly identical to O'Donnell's, as senior Abigail Taft (Shaker Heights, OH) sent the ball up to Stearns from the goal line extended and Stearns one-timed a shot to the left corner. 

However, Penn would tie the score for the second time of the afternoon seven minutes later on another corner play. Julie Tahan collected the ball at the top of the circle and sent it diagonally to Kirsten Snyder on the right post. Snyder had the easy tap-in into the partially open net at 28:07, as the teams headed into the break knotted at two.

Play on both sides became somewhat sloppy in the second half, as it began to rain heavily just as the final 35 minutes was about to begin. Both teams had chances to break the tie, with both Brown and Penn earning sustained offensive possessions.

Following a Brown timeout in the 53rd minute, the Quakers gained possession on the restart and Iqbal raced down the right sideline from about 40 yards out, firing a shot to the left corner at 52:58 for what would prove to be the game-winner.

Brown had multiple chances to tie the game in the waning minutes, taking five shots over the final 14 minutes and earning six penalty corners in the last eight minutes. The Bears thought they had tied it with just over a minute remaining, but a shot by freshman Clayton Christus (Bernardsville, NJ), which had beat Sweeney on the corner, was ruled to have been too high.

For the game, Penn outshot Brown, 27-17, while Brown had a 10-6 advantage in penalty corners. Freshman Shannon McSweeney (Boxborough, MA) recorded nine saves, while Sweeney made seven for the Quakers.

Prior to the game, Brown recognized its five seniors, McNamara, Springmeyer, Taft, Laura Iacovetti (Blue Bell, PA) and Kit Masini (Ann Arbor, MI).

Brown closes out its 2011 season on Saturday, November 5, when it faces Yale in a 1:00 p.m. Ivy contest.

Pictured: Torie Stearns '14. Photo by DSPics.net.