Just get three points.
That is the goal for the men’s soccer team — win and get three points in the Ivy standings — when it takes on Dartmouth (5-6, 1-1 Ivy) Saturday in Hanover, N.H.
The Quakers (2-9, 0-2) have shown their skill on the field — they stayed within one goal of No. 22 Cornell — but have been unable to execute for a full 90 minutes.
“The only thing on our mind is going up to Hanover … and getting ourselves back in the conversation within the Ivy League,” coach Rudy Fuller said.
The same holds true for the Big Green, who are currently in the middle of the pack in the Ancient Eight.
“They’ve been a very difficult team to break down,” Fuller said. “They’re very committed to their defensive effort and they’re dangerous on the counter.”
This threat includes Dartmouth goalkeeper Noah Cohen, who earned Ivy Player of the Week honors after allowing just one goal in two games while logging 12 saves last weekend. However, Penn goalie Max Kurtzman still leads him in saves with 46 this season.
For the Quakers to get their first Ivy win, the key is playing the full game like the second half of last week’s matchup against Columbia. Despite losing, 1-0, the Quakers held the Lions scoreless after halftime.
“We felt really good about coming out of the Columbia game,” Fuller said. “We thought the second half was a really good half for us, probably our best so far this season.”
“I think the guys felt good and, despite the loss, it was energizing to really get back to what has made us a good team in the past.”
Sophomore midfielder Louis Schott agreed with his coach.
“We’re building off the second half in which we kept the ball away from Columbia almost the whole time,” he said. “We’re really just working on possession, which is really our identity. We’ve kind of gotten away from it this year, but I think we’re going to come back to it this week.”
Ultimately, however, the Red and Blue must find a way to win the close games. They have seven one-goal losses this season.
“When you get down to one-goal games, it’s really about a tactical thing,” sophomore midfielder Louis Schott said. “Not rarely, but you just got to grind out games and we haven’t done that so far, but we got it in us.”
Going on the road may work to the Quakers’ advantage. Their two wins came in away games, and they have yet to get a ‘W’ at home.
“It’s definitely different [on the road]. You don’t have any distractions. You’re not going home and seeing your friends,” Schott said. “You’re there for one reason and you’re there just to get the point and I think that helps.”
Fuller added that this team travels very well.
“The bus ride doesn’t really impact us at all. They adapt well,” he said. “Dartmouth has always been tough to play at home. We know it’s going to be a very challenging game and we’ve gotta get our mind around it and our heads straight to go in and try to fight for the three points.”
In the end, though, the focus is mainly on the effort required to get the win and return home with some points.
“We’re not going to react to what they do,” Schott said. “We want to dictate how the game is going to go.”