Hurricane Erika may have skirted Florida last week, but a new storm is heading south this weekend.
After two scoreless contests last weekend, Penn men’s soccer looks to get its offense back on track during its two-game road trip to Florida.
Following an up-and-down opening weekend, the Quakers (0-1-1) will get a shot to avenge two losses from their Ivy title-winning 2013 campaign. Florida Gulf Coast University (0-1-1) snuck away with a 3-2 double-overtime victory two years back, while Florida International (2-2-0) came away with a 2-0 result in the Rhodes Field matchup that same year.
“I think we have revenge on our minds,” senior midfielder Forrest Clancy said. “We want to go back and right that wrong by beating them.”
The Sunshine State will pose a unique conditioning challenge for the Red and Blue. With temperatures expected to climb into the 90s this weekend, the opposing players on the field won’t be the only thing for which the Quakers must prepare.
“We’re gonna need depth,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “It’s gonna be hot for both teams out there.”
Heading into the weekend’s matchups, Penn is worried less about the Florida teams on the other side of the pitch than the squad that calls Rhodes Field home.
“We’re still gelling as a team,” Clancy said. “It’s coming step by step, and we just need to be patient.”
Sunday’s disappointing 4-0 loss to American was something the Red and Blue felt they could have reversed. Coupled with the hangover from its impressive 0-0 draw against Washington, Clancy felt that the quick turnaround served as a detriment to Penn’s performance against the Eagles.
By departing this Wednesday to prepare for the weekend’s matches — more than a full 24 hours in advance of the weekend’s first kick off — the team hopes the extended layover will help the team to finally put some tally marks in the win column.
“We’ll have a lot of time to settle in, train there a few times and get mentally prepared,” Clancy added. “We came into Sunday [against American] very lethargic, and we don’t want to repeat that in Florida.”
The current 210-minute scoreless streak for the Quakers’ offense is another issue the team looks to tackle in Florida. A proven goal scorer like junior forward Alec Neumann could be the key to getting the ball into the back of the net.
“We’ve gotta do a better job at keeping the ball,” Fuller said. “If we get good service to someone like Neumann, he’ll score goals.”
The Quakers arrive in Florida hoping that, when they pack their bags on Monday for a return trip to Philadelphia, they’ll be bringing home some wins along with their tans.
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