October 7, 2003

Women's Soccer Downed by Penn

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Head women’s soccer coach Berhane Andeberhan knew that Penn would give his team a tough challenge over the weekend. Last year, the Quakers beat the Red 2-1 in a close game en route to winning the Ivy League Championship. This time around, the team from the City of Brotherly Love dominated.

“We hated to lose,” Andeberhan said following the contest. “We expect to win most of our games, and we expected better of ourselves in this one.”

Heading into Saturday’s match-up, the Red had won five straight — its most recent victory coming against Ivy opponent Columbia. On the crest of such a surge, spirits were high as the team headed to Philadelphia. But the women also knew that Penn had a potent offense which could take away that momentum quickly.

“We knew they would give us a hard test,” said senior Jo Galardy. “But it’s also a big rivalry, and we wanted to win.”

At the onset of play, victory seemed within reach. Emily Knight, Cornell’s senior co-captain, drew first blood. The Scituate, Mass. native knocked in a pass from sophomore Ali Gombar just 4:19 into the game. Unfortunately, that was the last time the Red would find the back of the net.

“That goal came almost too easily,” said Andeberhan. “After we scored, the game went from technical to physical.”

At that point, Penn’s offense and its physical style of play took over. Less than two minutes after the Cornell goal, Penn responded with a score of its own. Sophomore Meg Pittman put an unassisted shot past Cornell goalie Katie Thomas — the first goal to get past the netminder in three games. Then, sophomore Carolyn Cross scored off a corner kick from junior Katy Cross, putting the Quakers ahead going into halftime.

“Penn tried to get really physical with us,” said Galardy, “and we didn’t play good soccer.”

“I was really surprised that they resorted to that right away,” added Andeberhan. “But we didn’t handle it well.”

With the start of the second half, the Red aimed to mount a counter attack and put some points on the board. But Penn’s defense proved stingy, and its offense pelted 10 shots at Thomas in goal. One more, a kick from sophomore Robin Watson, beat the junior from California to solidify the 3-1 win for the Quakers.

“As the game went on, we got stronger and stronger,” said Penn head coach Darren Ambrose. “It was a complete effort.”

The Red also gave its all, the tables just turned against them.

“We played well in the second half, and some calls didn’t go our way,” Andeberhan continued, “but we have to give Penn credit for the win.”

But, he promises that his team will not let the loss smolder. It has too little time to worry.

“We have our mental composure, and that’s the biggest element of the game,” he said. “I’m very please to see that we’re up and ready to work, willing to take on the responsibility of the loss and the responsibility of preparing for the next game.”

Archived article by Everett Hullverson