Penn men's soccer trumps defending Ivy champ Cornell
Quakers notch first Ivy clean sheet since 2010
October 5, 2013, 10:42 pm·
Antoni Gierczak | DP
The tables have turned.
Coming off of a win against Drexel that snapped a six-game losing streak, Penn surprised 2012 Ivy champion Cornell at Rhodes Field, 1-0.
The Quakers (4-6, 1-0 Ivy) have already won more games than they racked up all of last season, when they went just 3-13 overall. The win marked Penn’s first clean sheet in Ivy play since 2010.
And defending Ivy champion Cornell (6-2-2, 0-1) learned this weekend that Penn is not the same team it was a year ago.
“They really kind of are a team that plays to one of our weaknesses … and I thought our guys stood tall and dealt with it really well and deserved to win,” coach Rudy Fuller said.
The match lasted for 80 minutes without a score — both the Red and Blue and the Big Red had many opportunities, yet none proved successful.
In the 81st minute, off of a corner kick from junior captain Duke Lacroix, senior defender Jonny Dolezal posted the only goal of the match and his first of the season.
“It’s great and the guy that got it — Jonny Dolezal — you can’t say enough about that kid,” Fuller said. “He’s a warrior. He’s a captain. He is one of the hardest working guys on our team.”
For the entire game, Cornell outshot Penn, 14-7, but Quakers goalie Max Polkinhorne stood tall in the net, securing his second clean sheet of 2013 and his first ever in Ivy play.
“It’s a dead heat with him and [senior goalkeeper Tyler Kinn],” Fuller said. “We feel very comfortable with either one of them in goal, and I think you will see that in the remainder of the season — you might see Max, you might see Tyler depending on form, health, whatever.
“It was simply a case of … he got his shot against Drexel and we won the game so we wanted to ride that momentum.”
However, Polkinhorne wasn’t the only change in the Red and Blue lineup.
“There are a number of guys that weren’t regular starters,” Fuller said. “Mariano Gonzalez, Alex Reddy, Kamar Saint-Louis, Matt Poplawski … got a start tonight because of how well they did Wednesday.”
“You can rely on almost anyone on the team to come in and play their part, and I think that is really important going forward,” Dolezal said.
One of the regulars, senior forward Stephen Baker, had several chances to put the Quakers on the board early in the game, but he couldn’t finish the job.
As the second half progressed, the Red and Blue began to find their stride, keeping the ball on Cornell’s side and making the Big Red defenders work hard to keep them from putting points on the board.
“Well I think it is really difficult for a team to play the way they play for 90 minutes,” Fuller said. “The first half was very difficult. They were fully juiced. They were putting balls in our box, making us defend really difficult plays.
“But the way they press, the way they attack you with speed, we knew that at some point the game was going to slow down.”
After losing multiple games this season by allowing late goals, Penn finally got to experience what it feels like to be clutch. Dolezal’s late goal was just what the Quakers needed to shut down Cornell and notch their first Ivy victory.
“It’s a great feeling. Usually we’ve been letting up goals late in the game and on the losing end, but it’s finally good to be on the winning side of things,” Dolezal said.
Penn men’s soccer surprised a lot of people on Saturday. But surprise isn’t consistency. Fans will find out how threatening a competitor the Quakers will be in Ivy play next Saturday at Columbia.