This was a rough one.
Fresh off an impressive 2-1 overtime win over Cornell a week ago, Penn men’s soccer was dealt a crushing double-overtime loss in its second Ivy contest Saturday, falling 2-1 to Columbia. The Lions’ game winner came on a penalty kick by freshman John Denis with 14 seconds left in the match.
“I don’t think it was our best performance. Columbia took it to us — they deserved to win the match,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “We’re gonna need to take a long, hard look at the film.”
With the loss, Penn (3-2-5, 1-1-0 Ivy) failed to pick up any points and falls to fifth place in the Ancient Eight standings.
Columbia (6-2-1, 1-0-1) got the scoring started in the 14th minute when junior forward Arthur Bosua converted a beautiful bicycle kick on a long feed from teammate Amit Shumowitz. Bosua deposited a rocket into the top right corner of the net, his team-high fourth goal of the season.
Penn responded just after halftime though, when junior back Sam Wancowicz found forward Alec Neumann for a game-tying goal. It was the senior captain’s seventh score of the season, the most in the Ivy League.
And though Wancowicz did pick up that pretty assist, Fuller was less than pleased with the defender’s overall performance on the evening.
“He wasn’t nearly the impact player he was up until this season — and that’s not blaming Wanc for it, we just really need him to be an impact.”
The backbreaking goal came just seconds before the game would have been called a draw. As Penn goalkeeper Etan Mabourakh scrambled to corral a loose ball, he accidentally touched it outside of the box, giving the Lions a penalty kick with just fourteen seconds remaining. Denis converted with ease, dealing the Quakers their most crushing loss of the season.
“They caught us. We didn’t deal with it very well,” Fuller said of the game’s final sequence.
In a sense, Columbia’s score was only a matter of time — the Lions dominated the offensive end throughout the match, particularly in the second half and overtime. The New Yorkers led the Quakers in shots (14 to eight), corner kicks (12 to three) and shots on goal (six to two). Penn failed to take a single shot in either overtime period, while the Lions notched five.
Before Saturday’s tough loss, the Red and Blue played a non-conference tuneup last Wednesday when they hosted Delaware, battling to a 2-2 draw. The Quakers, playing without a suspended Neumann (who had racked up too many yellow cards in preceding contests), got goals from Wancowicz and Matt Poplawski. In a reversal of Saturday’s trend, Penn outshot Delaware by a wide margin, 16 to seven.
With the bad taste of the weekend’s loss fresh in their mouths, the Quakers will have a full week off before they head to Dartmouth next Saturday. The Big Green is coming off a win over Yale and is tied for first in the conference.
“For us to be successful, we have to play on our front foot; we have to be the aggressor,” Fuller said of his team’s adjustments going forward. “[Saturday] I felt like we were slow and reactionary.”
The Red and Blue still have five conference games remaining; with Neumann playing superbly, their offense is capable of doing big things, as the win over Cornell demonstrated.
But, as this weekend showed, the Red and Blue are also not immune to crushing defeats.
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