Penn women's soccer puts its unbeaten home record on the line against Dartmouth
October 17, 2013, 7:02 pm · Updated October 17, 2013, 8:49 pm·
Carolyn Lim | DP
Two unbeaten streaks. Two physical defenses. Something’s gotta give.
Saturday night at Rhodes Field, the Penn women’s soccer team will take on Dartmouth in a crucial Ivy League clash that will go a long way in determining both teams’ championship hopes.
The Quakers (8-1-3, 2-1 Ivy) will put their unblemished home record on the line tomorrow night against a Big Green (5-4-3, 2-1) squad that struggles away from the friendly confines of Hanover, N.H. The Red and Blue are aiming to reverse their fortunes from their last matchup against Dartmouth, when they suffered a 2-1 defeat on the road in 2012.
Penn and Dartmouth have two of the strongest defenses in the Ivy League, making a low-scoring affair seem likely. The Quakers boast the lowest goals against average wrote outin the Ancient Eight and haven’t allowed a goal since its Sept. 29 match against Lehigh, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Dartmouth holds the third lowest goals against average in the league and has only surrendered one goal in its past four games.
Both Penn and Dartmouth know that their offenses could be in for long days.
“They’re a good team, they’re a physical team,” Penn coach Darren Ambrose said. “We hope to set the tone, but they’re a physical team.”
“Penn is very physical,” Dartmouth forward Emma Brush added. “They have a lot of heart and a lot of drive.”
Though both teams have been playing nice with each other off of the pitch, there will surely be fewer pleasantries exchanged once the match starts and both teams put their unbeaten streaks on the line.
The Big Green haven’t lost in the month of October, while the Red and Blue haven’t been bested since suffering a 2-1 loss at the hands of Harvard to open Ivy play back on Sept. 27.
Despite each teams’ recent success, it is likely that only one side will emerge from this matchup with its championship hopes alive. Both squads enter the match with a lone blemish on their conference records; one more loss and their prospects for an Ivy League title will be gone.
The match could hinge on how Penn’s defense handles Emma Brush, who has six goals on the season for third-most in the Ancient Eight. Brush has scored 14 points in 12 games on the year, wreaking havoc on defenses with her propensity for shot-taking.
Stopping Brush looks to be a daunting task, but Penn freshman midfielder Tahirih Nesmith remains confident that Brush can be contained.
“If Harvard’s national player [Margaret Purce] didn’t give us a hard time, I doubt [Brush] will,” Nesmith said. “Caroline Dwyer is probably our strongest defender, so she is usually our go-to person for strong forwards.”
“We battle hard, there’s a confidence about us.” Ambrose added. “I think our kids work well together.”
And if Ambrose’s players don’t work well together, they could find their Ivy hopes dashed.