Brown stuns No. 11 Penn State

September, 12, 2008
STORRS, Conn. -- For nearly two hours Friday it was the kind of shoe-saturating New England downpour that gradually begins to feel somehow colder than the snow that will replace it in a few months. And then with one well-placed ball into the corner of the goal, it turned into a sweeter shower than anything a bucket of Gatorade ever accomplished.

"One of the wettest games," Brown coach Phil Pincince conceded with a grin after finally finding shelter after a win. "But, I mean, it's New England, so we're sort of used that."

With less than a minute remaining in the first overtime period of a scoreless game against No. 11 Penn State, Brown freshman Sarah Hebert-Seropian drove a ball from outside the 18-yard box that drifted just over the outstretched hands of Penn State All-American keeper Alyssa Naeher. And while Naeher generally gets beat about as often in a month as the rent comes due, it was fitting that the end came on a save that couldn't be made.

It was fitting because the two teams found themselves mired in the much beyond regulation primarily because of a performance for the ages from Brown keeper Brenna Hogue.

"That was the best game we've seen her play in a Brown uniform," Pincince said of his junior keeper. "She was possessed. There were some big-time saves. Overtime, when No. 28 walks in, stuffs her and gets it back again? Yeah, she was impressive."

All told, Hogue finished with 18 saves, including the one-on-one stuff on a breakaway for Penn State's Danielle Toney to which Pincince alluded, just minutes before the winner.

Not bad for a player dealing with a constant rain that eroded footing and turned the ball into a wet, knuckling sphere more suited to Tim Wakefield or Gaylord Perry. And not bad for a player doing that after missing last season with a dislocated kneecap.

"The problem is you've got to be so focused, because you don't want to give up a bad rebound," Pincince said. "You want to make certain that you're aware that the ball is going to skip. Do you come out early? Do you wait for it? Does it play you? … She had a great game, but this is a difficult game to play in with the weather conditions."

Hogue hadn't yet been born when Pincince took over at Brown 32 years ago. The longest-tenured coach in women's college soccer, he has 268 wins, including nine consecutive Ivy League titles from 1982-90. So perhaps there have been bigger wins than this one against the Nittany Lions. But there's surely never been a game that offered quite such soggy satisfaction.

"This is a big win for Brown," Pincince said with a look of appreciation that spoke volumes beyond that simple understatement.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?