msoccer

Rookie forward Jerel Blades accounted for the lone Penn goal on Saturday, scoring in the 59th minute to tie the game at one. Unfortunately for Penn, that score held and the Quakers were left with a sour defeat.

Photo: Annie Graves

Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not soccer.

As the 90 minutes of regulation play wound down on Saturday night, both Yale and Penn had chances to clinch the game, yet neither were able to convert.

In overtime, the pattern continued with Sam Wancowicz sailing one high and the Bulldogs responding with a shot off the crossbar.

And the end of the second period of overtime saw both sides nearly securing the victory.

Ultimately, the game concluded after 110 minutes with the same score it had for the last 50, tied at 1-1.

“I think one team is probably pleased with the result, and one team is disappointed with the result,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “And we’re not happy.”

With Yale (1-10-1, 0-3-1 Ivy) currently sitting at the bottom of the league, the Quakers (2-8-2, 1-2-1) expected to clinch three points off the game and keep themselves in contention for an Ivy title.

However close they were, they could not finish with a victory.

The first half saw much back and forth play but little production.

“I think we were playing, putting them under a lot of pressure defensively and playing very fast in the first half,” Fuller said. “So the game was going a hundred miles an hour, and we couldn’t really get a hold of it. We generated chances, the stats were in our favor, but the game really didn’t settle down for us.”

Penn started the second half with early friskiness. But the Bulldogs secured the first point on the board.

“It was a little bit upsetting because we’ve been working all week in training on not getting scored on off set pieces,” freshman Jerel Blades said. “It was a little bit disappointing to get scored on like that, because we shut down every earlier opportunity they had on the field.”

But the Quakers quickly responded within five minutes with a goal of their own by Blades off an assist from freshman back Nigel Blackwood.

“I think it was definitely a confidence booster for us,” Blades said. “As soon as we got that goal, we had a little bit more confidence, and that’s when our game actually starting changing and getting more up tempo.”

“In the second half, I thought the defensive side of it continued but we started to connect a little bit more and find more of a rhythm,” Fuller said. “[It] still wasn’t great, but it was a little bit better than the first half.”

But Penn’s troubles did not stop there. Throughout the season, the Red and Blue has had trouble in the 18s.

“I think when you look back to the Rutgers game, the Dartmouth game and now this one, we’ve dropped a lot of points because we couldn’t take care of things in our own goal,” Fuller said.

The Red and Blue’s troubles did not end there. Even just from looking at the sideline, any attendee at the game saw two sets of crutches lining the Red and Blue bench.

In the words of Fuller: “Injuries haven’t been good to us this year.”

And in the plethora of fouls that continually stopped the game two more Red and Blue players took to the sidelines.

“You have two guys in Austin [Kuhn] and Joe [Swenson] pick up knocks and have to come off,” Fuller said. “Fortunately we have two seniors in Forrest [Clancy] and James [Rushton] who we are able to turn to, so there’s not much of a drop off in ability, but its just the rhythm and continuity of a team.

“So it was tough to get some continuity, and I think it showed in the overall choppiness of the game.”

Though the drive and determination of the Red and Blue to break their losing streak was evident, they were forced to settle for a tie that felt more like a loss.

“It definitely was tough” Blades said. “This was a team we thought we could pick up three points on, especially being at the bottom of the table and trying to reach the top of the table.

“This was a game we were really expecting to win.”

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