Penn men’s club soccer might just be the quietest dynasty on campus.
Year after year, they find themselves dominating their division and making waves in the regional tournament. The talent pool is deep, but what may be even more responsible for the team’s success is its camaraderie.
“We have a lot of pride in being teammates,” junior captain Eli Cohen said, “and that is probably why we are so successful on a year-to-year basis.”
Including results from this season, the self-proclaimed Dolphinos (a nickname originating from the dolphin.upenn URL on their website) have won or drawn 80 percent of their matches since the 2012 campaign.
An impressive feat indeed, but even more impressive when considering that they do it all without a coach, unlike many of the other large institutions that they compete against.
Through five games, the team has cruised to a 3-1-1 record with its sole 1-0 loss coming early in the season to Saint Joe’s. In the same time, the Dolphinos have racked up 17 goals and conceded a measly two.
Despite the strong results, problems with getting matches on the schedule have made it so that the team’s upcoming match against Temple could make or break the season — a distinctly unfamiliar predicament for the Dolphinos. Fewer scheduled games limit the team’s opportunities to qualify for postseason play.
In previous years, the Dolphinos have averaged nine or more games. This year they were only able to find seven outings.
Roth went so far as to refer to their precarious position as “blasphemy.”
“The mindset since we lost that St. Joe’s game is that we need to win the rest of our games,” said graduate captain Steve Rybicki. “We have to play as if, if we don’t win, we won’t advance.”
In order to safely secure its spot in Regionals, the team is not just looking for just a victory but more of a certifiable drubbing of Temple on Friday night, something the players have proven themselves apt to do.
The aforementioned 17 goals have been scored in three games, in the season opener against Drexel B, against LaSalle and most recently against Philadelphia University.
A strong new class of players has allowed the team to shift from the four-at-the-back formation that they had traditionally played to a more attacking-oriented formation with three defenders, something that has certainly paid dividends.
A win over Temple is essential for the Dolphinos in their upcoming game, where attendees might bear witness to what the team advertises as a “sometimes mesmerizing, often fast paced, and always rowdy style of play.”
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