The Penn men’s soccer team suffered yet another Ivy defeat Saturday, falling to Princeton, 3-0, in the Quakers’ last away game of the season.
While Princeton (7-6-2, 3-1-2 Ivy) entered the game with a much better record, it appeared early on that it would be a close match, as the Quakers (2-13-0, 0-6-0) held Princeton scoreless for most of the first half.
“For the first 30 minutes we thought we had the game right where we wanted it to be,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “But Princeton was aggressive on attack.”
But in the 34th minute, Princeton’s Thomas Sanner got past Penn goalkeeper Max Kurtzman to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead, forcing Penn to reflect on its gameplan at the break.
“At halftime we spoke about trying to be more effective at the plan we set out,” Fuller said. “We tried to identify weaknesses in Princeton’s lineup and jump on these spots.”
Within the first eight minutes of the second half, the Tigers found the back of the net again to take a 2-0 lead. A miscommunication among the backline allowed Princeton’s Myles McGinley to break through the defense and score, Fuller said.
Princeton’s final goal came in the 75th minute, when Mark Linnville headed a corner past Kurtzman.
Both teams were aggressive on offense, with the Tigers outshooting the Quakers, 12-8. Kurtzman made four saves on the game.
The loss at Princeton keeps Penn winless in the league, and the Quakers’ last victory came on Sept. 23. While the team is young, Fuller doesn’t attribute the season’s struggles to inexperience.
“I don’t think youth has anything to do with it,” he said. “It’s actually some of the sophomores and juniors that have had some of the most play time, so we can’t use lack of experience as an excuse.”
Fuller said several of the younger members on the team stood out most to him in Saturday’s game.
“This could have been Louis’ strongest performance of the season,” Fuller said of sophomore midfielder Louis Schott.
The Quakers have one game remaining this season as they take on Harvard Saturday at home.
“We are not planning to do anything out of the ordinary — just continuing to put together the best game we can,” Fuller said.
The Red and Blue will celebrate Senior Night against the Crimson, though there will not be many players to honor. Travis Cantrell and Bryan Yasukochi are the only seniors on the roster.
And while the season may not have played out the way the Quakers wanted, Fuller is not unhappy with his team.
“We aren’t playing badly, we are just missing opportunities,” he said.
Fuller is looking to the future and is excited about the players he will continue to coach for the next few seasons.
“We are just looking for leaders to emerge.”