October 6, 2008

Penn Dominates W. Soccer in Ivy Opener

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Despite having home field advantage, the women’s soccer team fell short against Penn Saturday night by a disappointing score of 6-0. This loss makes the Red 1-7-1 for the season and 0-2 in Ivy League play, while it advances Penn’s record to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0 in Ivy League standings.
“It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but hopefully we’re going to work this week on playing better next weekend and improving,” said freshman goalkeeper Megan Bartlett. “[We’re] trying to come back and be positive and not let this game get to our heads that much … because there’s no need to dwell on it.”
Cornell’s lineup started many talented freshmen in addition to Bartlett, who could not quite handle the Quakers’ numerous shots on goal. In the first half, Penn outshot Cornell 9-to-3 and then built on that success — accumulating 14 shots in the second half compared to the Red’s two shots on goal.
“Our biggest thing is going to be confidence,” said senior captain Whitney Stich. “We go into games with a lot of confidence, but as soon as the other team has a goal or a good play then we lose our confidence. So I think we need to continue to maintain our mentality despite what the other team is doing.”
Although Bartlett made two crucial saves in the first half, her effort balanced out when the Quakers tallied two of their six goals in that same period. In the first ten minutes of play, Penn senior Molly Weir banked the soccer ball off the post and into the goal. The Red tried to maintain its momentum, but in the 39th minute, Quakers junior Allyson Gordon finished off the ball by sneaking a low shot to the far post and into the side netting of the goal. [img_assist|nid=32456|title=A second too late|desc=Penn scores on freshman goalie Megan Bartlett in the Quakers’ Ivy-opening win over Cornell Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We came out mentally prepared, and after Penn scored the first goal, we kind of just lost our mental edge,” Stich said. “That’s what really hurt us.”
With hopes of coming back from a two-goal deficit in the second half, the home team tried its best to maintain possession, but — just six minutes after the break — Penn sophomore Sarah Friedman struck a high shot from 25 yards, earning Penn’s third goal of the night.
“Hopefully we will take [Saturday] and use it as motivation to play well and win,” Bartlett said. “Last night wasn’t how our team really is. … It was just an off night. [We will] work hard and try to hopefully redeem ourselves from last night and prove that we can beat Harvard.”
In the 66th minute, Penn freshman Ursula Lopez-Palm cleverly utilized a pair of passes on her left side to make a nice strike from 12 yards back for the fourth goal of the game. Bartlett finished the night making four valuable saves during her 73 minutes of play before sophomore Jodi Palmer relieved her in goal.
After Palmer entered the game with over 17 minutes remaining, a last attempt to halt the Quakers’ momentum, Penn junior Mara Fintzi and senior Molly Weir responded by scoring two successive goals in the final minutes to make the score 6-0.
“Right now I think its in individual effort from each player that’s going to have to pull us through,” Stich said. “So right now the coaches and the team leadership are doing everything we can think of, and just everybody on the team needs to believe in themselves and each other and that’s something we haven’t been able to do.”
“The more you lose, the more you want to win,” Stich added. “I think that our desire to win and our desire to play hard keeps growing with every loss, so we’re not ready to give up, we’re ready to keep playing.”