After a slow start to Ivy League play, Penn women’s soccer is preparing itself for a redeeming road trip up to Columbia on Friday.
The Red and Blue (4-3-3, 0-1-1) should feel confident in their chances against a Lions' (5-5-0, 1-1-0) squad that has yet to click so far this season. Columbia hosted Brown last weekend and, although it managed to pick up the win, barley squeaked by the weaker Bears with a goal in the 90th minute.
Meanwhile, the Quakers, despite a poor recent run of results consisting of three draws and two losses, are feeling upbeat that the results are about due to go their way. They lost to Lehigh on Monday, 1-0, but sophomore Erica Higa says the results aren’t exactly reflective of the team’s performances.
The team’s issues lie “just in the final third,” Higa said. “We’ve had a lot of chances lately, but we’ve just got to find the back of the net. That’ll come.”
“We played exceptionally against Lehigh,” coach Nicole Van Dyke noted. “I think that was one of our best performances of the year.”
The Red and Blue outshot Lehigh 11-2 in the second half alone, yet they couldn’t get the ball in the net on an off night that many teams often suffer.
Penn's scoreless drought now stands at four games. And although Van Dyke sees no reason for panic, she did acknowledge the pressing need for the Quakers to get the ball into the goal. In the two days of practice leading up to the match, the first-year coach had her team hone in on “capitalizing on scoring opportunities” in order to get the results they feel they’ve earned.
“From there, we’re just going to focus on our performance,” she added. “And hopefully that leads to getting the result.”
Despite the slow start to Ancient Eight play, the Red and Blue should feel good heading into the bulk of their conference schedule. After last season’s similarly lethargic start in Ivy games, the team made strides towards the end of the season, going undefeated in its final four matches.
On another positive note, after the road trip to New York, the team has three consecutive home matches to look forward to.
“We’ve had a lot of heart in this team,” Higa said of her team’s spirit. “I think we’re known for that grit and that heart.”
“We’re young,” Van Dyke added. “So with more time and more experience, I think it’s gonna pay off.”
And with time and experience now accruing under the players' belts, they can expect things to pay off sooner rather than later.
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