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Princeton Athletics | October 17, 2021

College field hockey: Watch No. 16 Princeton's game-winning goal to beat No. 5 Penn State 3-2

Watch the final seconds of the women's field hockey national championship in OT

The Princeton field hockey team just got its biggest win of the year. Now the Tigers can look ahead to their biggest game of the year.

Sammy Popper's goal 2:49 into the overtime gave No. 16 Princeton a 3-2 win over No. 5 Penn State in a thrilling game that saw the Nittany Lions force the overtime with just six seconds to play. The victory was Princeton's fifth straight, including its second 3-2 overtime win in three days after Friday's game against Cornell.

With this win behind them, the Tigers can now focus on Saturday's upcoming showdown in Cambridge against Harvard in a matchup of two 5-0 Ivy League teams. No other team in the league has fewer than two losses.

The winner of the Princeton-Harvard game will have the inside track on the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid. The win over Penn State puts Princeton at least into the at-large conversation if it comes to that. The game Sunday afternoon certainly had the feel of an NCAA game, as the teams played an end-to-end game that featured a combined 37 shots (21-16 Penn State) and some considerable late-game drama. Both goalies — Princeton's Isla Okkinga (six saves) and Penn State's Brie Barraco (nine saves) — were awesome, with acrobatic stops that kept the score from being much higher.

RANKINGS: Here's the updated 2021 field hockey rankings

Princeton led 1-0 when Beth Yeager scored her 16th of the year five minutes in, assists to Ali McCarthy and Ophelie Bemelmans on a penalty corner, but Penn State tied it on a corner of its own two minutes into the second quarter. Every corner after that, and there were 12 in all, brought considerable tension, but neither team converted.

It was Grace Schulze who broke the tie less than a minute into the fourth quarter after McCarthy set her up for a nice run and tough finish.

Princeton looked like it would hold on from there, despite the eight shots the Nittany Lions threw at Okkinga in the first 14:54 of the quarter. It was the ninth that tied it when Mackenzie Allessie dribbled through traffic and put it in the near post.

PAST CHAMPS: Here's every DI field hockey national champion since 1981

Princeton, who already had overtime losses to top eight opponents Louisville and Maryland, regrouped quickly. This time, the game-winner came two seconds later than it had on Friday when Yeager scored with 7:43 left in the first overtime.

Hannah Davey set this one up, dribbling up the right side and finding Popper, who did the rest herself.

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