After a demoralizing loss to Harvard last week, it was hard not to wonder if last year’s scoring draught had returned to haunt Penn women’s soccer.
However, when the Red and Blue took to Cornell’s Berman Field Friday night, those demons were conspicuously absent. The Quakers stormed out to a 4-0 lead before the halftime whistle and never gave Cornell (3-6-1, 0-2 Ivy) a chance to breathe in the second period en route to a 5-0 final score and their first Ivy League victory of the year.
It didn’t take long for Penn (5-2-1, 1-1) to find its way onto the score board. After getting a few early looks on net, senior Olivia Blaber delivered her third goal of the season in the eighth minute on Penn’s first corner kick of the match, definitively stating this was not going to be another one of those frustratingly low-scoring games.
“We all came out of the Harvard game a week ago wanting to start tonight off fast and show that our result last week was not who we are,” Penn coach Nicole Van Dyke said. “We had a great week of practice leading up to today, and we got after it right from the start of the game.”
Sophomore Allie Trzaska was next to add her name to the stat sheet by burying a feed from fellow sophomore Sasha Stephens past Cornell’s diving keeper in the 20th minute. Less than three minutes later, Penn struck again. Freshman Emma Loving notched her team-leading fourth goal of the season by taking advantage of yet another Penn corner kick with a decisive header that summarily put to rest any doubts about the outcome of the game.
And just as Cornell’s beleaguered defense thought it was finally going to get out of the half, junior Erica Higa capitalized on yet another period of dominant possession with her second goal of the season, a mere 15 seconds before time expired.
The second half proceed in much the same way as the first, as the Quakers continued to press hard against Cornell’s porous defense and looked strong at the back as they had for much of the night. Penn conceded only three shots on goal, which were easily handled by freshman keeper Kitty Qu in the first half and sophomore Kiera Towell, who started in net in the second 45 minutes.
The score line didn’t change however until the 78th minute, when a cross from Blaber found the foot of forward Cameo Hazelwood, which the sophomore preceded to fire home, giving Penn its second-largest Ivy League victory in program history and Hazelwood’s first career goal.
“Ivy League games are always so competitive and tense that you usually don’t get to go out there and try new things, but tonight we were able to get everyone involved,” Van Dyke said. “It was great to get lots of our players into that type of environment and having them all contribute to building some good momentum going forward. “
Penn will have little time to savor its success though, with a midweek game against American on Tuesday and another Ivy League matchup against Columbia looming next weekend. Another two games to see if the Red and Blue truly have put their scoring demons to rest.
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