“Ivies are another level,” Penn men’s soccer coach Rudy Fuller said of his preparation for his team’s next big game.
This Sunday, Penn (2-1-4) will be heading up to Ithaca to face Cornell. Although Penn has played six games already this season, this will be its first against an Ivy League foe.
Penn is fresh off of a resounding 5-0 win over its next door neighbors, Drexel. Fuller was predictably pleased with the way the team performed last Saturday.
“We hadn’t had a multiple goal win in a while and it’s nice to get that going into the Ivies,” Fuller said. “We want to be a team that plays on the front foot. We want to be proactive. We want to be aggressive. We want to be a team that puts a stamp on the game.”
Senior captain Alec Neumann had an especially excellent performance, scoring a hat trick over the weekend. He hopes that he can carry this momentum into the team’s meeting with Cornell.
“It really helps your confidence and I think everyone on the team has played well and we are really starting to find our groove,” Neumann reflected.
Cornell currently holds a record of 0-7-2 which may seem comfortable for Penn. However, the Big Red’s past matchups this season included the always strong Virginia and No. 3 Syracuse. They have also not yet faced an Ivy League opponent.
Neumann does not underestimate the strength of Cornell and is looking forward to facing the Big Red to start Ancient Eight play.
“I think it’s really good to start against Cornell because they’re a pretty tough team and they’ll really battle you the entire game,” Neumann said. “I think it really sets the tone well for the rest of the Ivy season.”
However, Fuller sees little benefit in looking too deeply into records and would rather focus on his own team.
“You know, to be honest, we haven’t really done a lot of talking before any game about an opponent, their record, whether their a high or low level team,” Fuller said.
After Penn’s recent wins at Drexel and La Salle (5-4), it is understandable why Fuller will want to keep his philosophy the same.
“We have really put the focus on ourselves and the performance we are looking to put in, how we want to approach it. And that’s no different going into this weekend,” Fuller maintained.
With a win this weekend over Cornell, Penn could improve its record to 3-1-4 and start off strong in Ivy League conference play. With Neumman and the rest of the team starting to gain momentum, we can expect an entertaining game in Ithaca.
“It’s a process, and we want to get better every day,” Fuller said.
“The goal going into Cornell is just to continue getting better.”
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