The box score reflected the reality: On Sunday night, the Quakers never had a shot.
Penn Soccer fell 3-0 to No. 23 Temple at Rhodes Field on Sunday night, dropping to 0-4-1 on the season. The Red and Blue failed to put a single shot on goal, and only thrice did they even send the ball in Temple goalie Alex Cagle’s general direction.
Instead, they spent far more time tapping the ball back to their own goalie, senior Nick Savino, in an attempt to reset their listless offense. The Owls, however, charged towards Savino with more malice, with star junior Jorge Gomez Sanchez putting a hat trick past the Penn keeper.
Savino did come up with four saves, including a seemingly impossible stop in the second half on a shot that had Temple’s bench celebrating, certain that the ball had found the back of the net.
The Quakers held level with Temple (6-0-1) for the first third of the game, but Gomez Sanchez took advantage of a Penn turnover in the 32nd minute to give the Owls a lead they would never relinquish. Gomez struck again shortly after the intermission at 48:17, and again in the 57th minute to put the game out of reach.
However, it might be fair to say the game was out of reach after the first goal. The Quakers have scored only a single goal in five games, and Penn’s impressive performance in the season opener — a scoreless draw against No. 7 Washington — seems to have been a sign of things to come, for all the wrong reasons.
“When you’re going through a streak like this, it starts to affect your mentality. It starts to affect your confidence,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “If that affects how we prepare, how we play, that’s our fault.”
But Fuller pointed out that the offense wasn’t his squad’s only issue in the defeat.
“You can talk all you want about the attack, but you’re not going to win many games when you give up three goals.”
And ultimately, the loss falls on the entire squad.
“Everybody has to do their job. It’s not like we have a defensive team and an attacking team,” Fuller added. “Everybody defends, everybody attacks. Just because [Gomez Sanchez] scored three goals, that’s not the fault of the back four, that’s the fault of everybody on the field.
“Just because we’re not scoring goals, it isn’t the fault of [senior attacker] Alec Neumann, it’s the fault of the 11 guys on the field.”
Penn did wake up to some extent on the offensive end in the dying minutes of the game, putting more pressure on the Temple defense, sending some balls into the box and earning a corner.
“Towards the end of the game we started believing and trying to push,” Neumann said. “I think that showed, and I think if we can do that for 90 minutes, we’ll start to get results.”
“That was certainly a positive,” Fuller added. “It was something we had talked about at halftime: trying to get more numbers forward.”
Of course, it was far too little and too late, and if Penn did gain any momentum at the end of the game, it will be very hard to maintain. The Quakers’ next test is a Wednesday matchup with No. 13 Penn State at Rhodes Field.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.