PROVIDENCE, RI – Sophomore Haley Alvarez (Martinsville, NJ) lifted the rebound of a shot by freshman Anna Masini (Ann Arbor, MI) over Cornell goalie Carolyn Horner with 6:27 left in the second overtime to help the Brown field hockey team (4-9, 1-3) to a 4-3 win over Cornell (7-7, 3-2) on Saturday afternoon at the Brown Field Hockey Field.
The Bears held a 3-1 lead with 28 minutes left in the game, but Cornell scored twice over the next 10 minutes to come back and force overtime. Brown's defense, led by the strong play of sophomore Shannon McSweeney (Boxborough, MA), was outstanding during the first overtime, turning aside nine Cornell shots, including a penalty stroke, before Alvarez's game-winner.
The Big Red opened the scoring just 9:31 into the game when leading scorer Hannah Balleza took a centering feed from Kat DiPastina and tucked the ball past McSweeney from the center of the circle.
However, Brown answered just 3:54 later when freshman Hannah Rogers (Los Altos, CA) scored her fifth of the season. After Cornell tried to play the ball out of the circle, Rogers collected the ball on the right side, dribbled towards the goal, and unleashed a rocket that beat Horner to the upper left corner.
The two teams battled back-and-forth and Brown nearly grabbed a 2-1 lead on its first corner of the game at 19:32, but junior Charlotte Small (Summit, NJ) just missed connecting on freshman Alexis Miller's (Caldwell, NJ) feed from the top of the circle, as the game remained knotted at 1-1.
The Bears went ahead, 2-1, with 4:08 left in the half, capitalizing on an own goal. Sophomore Meghan O'Donnell (Winchester, MA) started the play when she fed Miller to her right, just outside the circle. From just outside the apron, Miller sent the ball into the center of the circle, where it was deflected up and over Horner for a 2-1 Brown advantage.
The Bears increased their lead to 3-1 just 7:27 into the second half when Miller connected with O'Donnell on the left side of the cage, and O'Donnell fired a hard shot to the far corner for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
However, Cornell answered less than a minute later, when Balleza picked up a loose ball in the circle and, from the left post, sent it past McSweeney to the near side to bring her team to within 3-2 at 43:27. The tying goal came less than 10 minutes later, at 52:53, when Elly Plappert beat McSweeney with a direct shot from the top of the circle.
Following the goal, momentum seemed to swing in Cornell's favor, but sophomore Clayton Christus (Bernardsville, NJ) nearly won it for Brown with 7:50 to play in regulation. After collecting the ball on the left side, Christus sent a dangerous shot towards the far corner, but Horner made a beautiful save with her left leg, as the teams headed for overtime.
The Brown defense came up big in the first three minutes of the first overtime, as McSweeney made two saves, including one on a penalty stroke, Christus made a defensive save, and a fourth Cornell shot hit the post. The Bears were able to hold on, but failed to generate a shot in the 15-minute period, despite earning a corner with 2:14 remaining.
The Big Red had another dangerous opportunity in the opening minutes of the second overtime, as Masini had a defensive save and McSweeney stopped another shot. However, with about 10 minutes left in the period, Brown began to press on the attacking end, earning a penalty corner with just under seven minutes left, which set up Alvarez's game-winner.
The Bears might not have even gotten to that point if it weren't for McSweeney's aggressive play in the defensive end. In addition to making six saves, McSweeney charged off her line several times to break up Cornell offensive chances.
For the game, Cornell held a 25-14 advantage in shots and earned 12 corners to Brown's eight. McSweeney finished with 14 saves, while Horner made four for the Big Red.
The Bears have a quick turnaround before their next game, as they host Rutgers at 12:00 noon on Sunday.