In sports, it is good to have a short memory.
So far this season, Penn women’s soccer has shown that’s exactly what they have, downing non-conference opponent Delaware State on Tuesday night, 4-0, following a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Columbia over the weekend.
“The one thing about this team is that, no matter what, they don’t like to lose,” Penn coach Nicole Van Dyke said after the game. “Last time we walked away and didn’t get the result we wanted, we went out the next game and played extremely well.”
After a tough 1-0 loss to Harvard on Sept. 24, the Quakers (7-3-1) turned in a dominating 5-0 victory at Cornell the following weekend.
A large part of their success in these types of games have been early scoring. Against Cornell on Sept. 30, the Red and Blue scored four times in the opening half. On Tuesday night, they scored twice in the first 45 minutes, with the first goal by freshman forward Emma Loving coming in the first two minutes, her team-leading sixth on the season.
“I think it is very helpful to get a quick start,” Loving said. “You put your stamp on the game right away and it definitely helps the team’s confidence.”
18 of Penn’s 24 goals this season have come in the first half.
“We had a fast start tonight,” Van Dyke said. “Scoring early definitely brings up the energy of everyone on the team, and that energy carried throughout the game tonight.”
Another factor in Penn’s 7-3-1 start to the season is the play of the freshmen on the team.
“The freshmen have done a very good job of coming in and learning the system and the style of play,” Van Dyke said. “They have really blended into the team nicely.”
Freshman forward Samantha Klingelhofer made the score 2-0 with her first goal of the season in the 42nd minute.
“It is much different game going into the second half up 2-0 than up 1-0,” Klingelhofer said. “The second goal really gave the team the confidence we needed to put away two more goals in the second half.”
Klingelhofer, recovering from a concussion, played only her second game of the year Tuesday night.
“I was super nervous leading up to it, and I am happy how the team performed tonight,” Klingelhofer said. “It was great to be back, the team has been so welcoming and helpful with my return.”
The game on Tuesday night marked Penn’s fourth four-goal victory of the 2016 campaign.
“On paper, obviously Delaware State is not the strongest team,” Van Dyke said. “But, it was nice to regroup and put some goals in the back of the net.”
The Hornets were coming off a loss to LIU Brooklyn on Saturday and are 3-8-0 on the season.
“We are realistic and know that there is a greater challenge facing us going to Dartmouth,” Van Dyke said. “But we were able to work on a few things tonight which was great.”
The Quakers will face Dartmouth in Hannover on Saturday night. The Big Green are 6-5 this season, and 4-3 at home.
“Ivy games are definitely more challenging, and a little higher speed,” Van Dyke said. “For us, dropping a game to Columbia when we were obviously the better team is somewhat defeating, but we are in a good position, and we are focused on Dartmouth on Saturday.”
Although Delaware State does not have the record that a Dartmouth or Columbia has, the Red and Blue still had an impressive offensive showing on Tuesday night, outshooting the Hornets, 25-1.
“We know that if we stay focused, bring that energy, and have the correct mindset leading into every game, good things will happen,” Van Dyke said. “We didn’t do that against Columbia, and we paid the hard price.
“Going into Dartmouth, we are going to have to get a quick start like we did tonight and be ready and mentally prepared to play against them.”
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