Penn football’s recent upset victory over Villanova — the program’s first in more than 100 years — has sent tremors throughout the Penn Athletics community. Unfortunately, none of us at DP Sports were bold enough to predict the incredible result. So with one major opportunity having already passed us by, it’s time for redemption. What are our bold predictions for the rest of the fall season?
Sports Editor Colin Henderson: I will be the first to admit that I’ve been hard on Penn men’s soccer this year. But in my defense, the Quakers haven’t exactly given me much positive to talk about.
In fact, the Red and Blue have been pretty much abysmal in non-conference play to start their season, having scored only 4 goals and managing to secure only one victory. We knew the squad’s offense would suffer due to the loss of Duke Lacroix, but its complete ineffectiveness to start the year thus far has been shocking.
But let’s all take a step back for a second. First of all, the Quakers have faced three ranked opponents already, and they even managed to tie one of them.
Secondly, star forward Alec Neumann and the rest of Penn's offense is bound to catch fire scoring goals at some point. Take Tuesday night's win over Saint Joesph's, in which the team broke out for three goals, as evidence of things to come. After all, two years ago, Penn went 3-5-1 in non-conference play en route to an Ivy title. I predict that this team breaks out of its funk and makes a run at winning the league.
Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: It's time to get real bold. If you've followed collegiate sprint football throughout its history, you certainly know how dominant Army and Navy tend to be. While many schools struggle to fill a roster (see Princeton), the service academies cut down huge beginning rosters to build their teams.
It's been a few years since Penn beat one of the service academies (the last win was over Navy in 2010, when Penn shared the CSFL title). Last season, the Quakers came within a score of knocking off CSFL champion Navy, and this year I think they will actually pull off the upset.
Penn has looked sharp through its first two games, making short work of Franklin Pierce and Post. Junior quarterback Mike McCurdy has also been on point so far this season, throwing for 7 touchdowns and 556 yards, while the running game has been efficient as well behind freshman running back Max Jones. It'll still be a tough game against Navy even if the offense gets going, but this is the year.
Associate Editor Will Agathis: No Penn squad has been more impressive this fall than field hockey.
The team’s offensive play has been, in a word, stellar. Sophomore sensation Alexa Hoover has been absolutely unstoppable, averaging a mind-blowing 2.43 goals per game to lead the nation.
The less-talked-about defense is also catching on rather quickly. After allowing nine goals in their first three contests, the Quakers’ backfield has upped the pressure and has quietly become one of the team’s strengths lately, only surrendering seven scores in their four most recent games.
The team’s success is not only contingent on the offense, but the defense. For every big goal from Hoover is a game-changing save from Liz Mata. For every offensive play created by Elizabeth Hitti is a fantastic defensive effort from Claire Kneizys. The offense gets recognition, the defense gets results.
Look for the offense and defense to thrive in the conference matchups and to lead Penn to its first Ivy League championship of the Colleen Fink era.
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