Keep the floodgates open.
After breaking its eight game goal drought on Tuesday against American, Penn women's soccer will seek to end another drought within its 2015 season - a winless Ivy record. The Red and Blue look to pick up their first conference win against Dartmouth on Sunday at Rhodes Field. Coming off three consecutive scoreless conference games — contests in which the Quakers fell, 3-0, to Harvard and drew against Columbia and Cornell — the Red and Blue look to step up their game against the Big Green (7-3-2, 0-2-1).
While capitalizing on scoring chances had been a concern for the Quakers (5-3-4, 0-1-2 Ivy) in their past few games, a strong showing against American on Tuesday night has given the team new momentum heading into Saturday's matchup. The Red and Blue held the Eagles scoreless, while also logging five goals, the first time the team found the back of the net since Sept. 18.
“The momentum we’ve gained from our 5-0 win Tuesday night is crucial going into Saturday," junior defender Olivia Blaber said. "We got our confidence back, and everything is finally clicking in the final third. If we work off that success and belief in front of goal, we will hopefully get a similar result on Saturday.”
The Quakers have a good grasp on what strategies will lead them to victory.
“We need to shut down Dartmouth's attack, play high pressure soccer and execute with quality on the offensive end," junior goalkeeper Carrie Crook said. "We need to come out ready to battle as hard as possible for 90 minutes. We are doing well defensively getting pressure on the ball starting with forwards all the way back to the back line.”
The team has also been focusing on improving its attack and is confident that its practices will translate into success against Dartmouth.
“We have been doing a good job of generating chances and now finding the back of the net again," Crook said. "The final third has been our greatest focus for improvement, but it’s definitely coming. We are increasingly more threatening around the box, and our defense has been doing an amazing job and has been an anchor for our team throughout the season.”
Penn's strength also comes from their ability to distribute responsibilities. There are no true superstars that can make or break the game.
“We are unique in the depth on our team. Every sub that comes in has the ability to change the game and raise our level," Crook added. "Everyone from the players on the sideline to those on field impact the game. We succeed as one unit rather than as individuals, and everyone will play an important role this weekend against Dartmouth.”
The Quakers are looking forward to playing within the familiar confines of Rhodes Field. Penn's only blemish at home this season was a 1-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Lehigh on Oct. 5 in which the Red and Blue actually outshot and outperformed the Mountain Hawks.
“Rhodes is our fortress,” Crook said. “It is a hard field to play on as a visiting team, and we take pride in that as a program.”
Knowing that the Quakers are already prepared to defend their "fortress," the team will look to take advantage of their newfound offensive momentum as well as its defensive tenacity against the Big Green on Saturday.
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