Even with a strained hamstring, midfielder Kelsey Tahan put the lone goal on the scoreboard for Penn in Wednesday night’s home matchup against University City rival No. 12 Drexel.
The senior co-captain came off the bench just to take a penalty stroke 1:34 into the game and delivered for the Quakers.
“I’m just the one that normally practices [strokes],” Tahan said. “We did a great job of generating it.”
But despite the Morristown, N.J., native’s best effort, the Quakers lost, 4-1.
“We knew it was going to be a really tough game,” senior midfielder Katie Rose said. “That’s why we just went out there and were like ‘We have nothing to lose’ and I think that showed in the first half [in] how strong we came out.”
Although Penn (4-9, 1-2 Ivy) got on the board early, the Dragons (12-2) retaliated.
Junior forward Susan Ciufo scored off a well-executed penalty corner, as she put a strong drive from the top of the circle past Penn goalkeeper Kieran Sweeney.
As the half expired Sweeney made a good save to keep the score tied at one.
In the second half, however, Drexel pulled away.
Penn coach Val Cloud knew the Dragons would come back, especially with the number of penalty corners her Quakers allowed.
“If they didn’t have those corners, we would have won,” she said. “Those corners are awesome.”
And each of the Dragon’s next three goals came off of stellar corner plays.
Less than three minutes into the start of the second half, junior forward Christina Mastropaolo shot from the left side of the circle to put Drexel ahead 2-1.
The Harleysville, Pa., native struck again six minutes later when she pushed the ball into the goal off of a cross-cage pass from Carolina Gibernau.
With the two goals Mastropaolo pushed her season total to 20, breaking a single-season program record. Ciufo isn’t far off the mark either: She has scored 15 goals in 2009.
“It’s incredible,” Cloud said. “I mean people don’t score that many goals in the season and [Drexel has] two of them.”
Despite the four goals allowed, Sweeney made a career-high 13 saves.
“I thought she played out of her mind,” Tahan said. “She just keeps coming out of nowhere. She was all over the cage today.”
“Without Kieran, it could have been many, many more [goals],” Rose added.
Even with the lopsided score, both Cloud and Rose were pleased with the team’s performance.
“The score says 4-1 but I don’t think that is by any means a step back,” Rose said. “We played great in the first half and yes we might have let up in the second, but I think we … have momentum.”
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