Missed opportunities bring Penn women's soccer's streaks to an end
Own goal, poor finishing ends undefeated season, Lehigh winning streak
September 29, 2013, 7:49 pm · Updated September 29, 2013, 11:20 pm·
Carolyn Lim | DP
All good things must come to an end.
For Penn women’s soccer, an undefeated record was the first to fall at Harvard. Then a 20-year win streak against Lehigh came to a close.
Penn’s undefeated record was the first to go, as a lacking offensive performance by the Quakers along with a fortuitous own goal in the second half helped the Crimson defeat the Red and Blue in Cambridge, 2-1.
The Quakers (4-1-3, 0-1 Ivy) got on the board first in the second half thanks to a failed Harvard clearance that ended up in the back of its own net.
But Harvard (4-3-1, 1-0) would respond with a successful corner kick, tying the match 1-1.
Penn followed suit with a major miscue, committing an own goal as a Harvard free kick from forward Margaret Purce bounced off a Penn defender. The 2-1 advantage would hold as the Quakers — who were outshot 9-4 and attempted zero corners — lost their first match of the year.
The Quakers then took their streak of 11 straight wins against Lehigh since 1993 into Sunday’s game at Rhodes Field.
This was a perfect chance for the Quakers to rebound, and they dominated almost every aspect of the game. But Penn ultimately played the Mountain Hawks (2-5-2) to a 1-1 draw in double overtime.
“This was a huge game to come out and bounce back after the game against Harvard where we didn’t create many chances,” senior forward Kathryn Barth said.
The Quakers outshot the Mountain Hawks, 27-7. Nine of the Quakers’ shots came in overtime, and they earned 10 corner kicks to Lehigh’s lone corner.
Everything seemed to be in Penn’s favor except for one thing: finishing opportunities.
Of Penn’s 27 shots, only 10 were on goal. Three shots hit the crossbar while several went just wide. And to top it off, Lehigh’s goalkeeper Ashley Blanks made many important saves.
“It seems to be the case this year, every goalkeeper seems to have the best game of their career [against us],” Penn coach Darren Ambrose said. “All it is a little bit of confidence, a little more practice. You can’t shy away from something like that — you just keep going.”
Lehigh scored first in the 30th minute off a cross from forward Murphee Greeley that midfielder Danielle Salans knocked inside the far post. Penn responded in the 75th minute with an equalizing goal by freshman center back Tahirih Nesmith off a well-placed corner by senior forward Kerry Scalora.
“We had several corners beforehand and every ball kept going far post and no one was there,” Nesmith, who recorded her team-leading fourth goal, said. “So I said, you know I might as well just stand far post and see what happens. And I scored.”
Lehigh had a game-winning goal negated by an offsides penalty, sending the game into overtime. Although Penn outshot Lehigh in overtime — including a shot by sophomore forward Elissa Berdini that went just wide left before the final horn sounded — the game resulted in a draw.
“I thought we were brilliant in every aspect of the game except for the finishing,” Ambrose said. “We lack a little bit of composure.”
But Ambrose and his team are not keeping their heads down after the rough weekend.
“You never give up, you know, keep the faith,” he said. “Because eventually, we’re going to bang in three or four goals again.”