On Saturday, the Penn women’s soccer team travelled to Dartmouth for a must-win matchup after falling in overtime 1-0 to current Ivy League frontrunner Columbia just one week ago. Dartmouth sat at the bottom of the league standings heading into the game, so not only was a win needed, but also expected.
However, both sides came out ready to play as both the Quakers (7-3-2, 1-2-1 Ivy) and Big Green (6-5-1, 0-3-1) created scoring chances within the first ten minutes of the game. Penn continued to attack Dartmouth with good pressure from the midfield. By the end of the first half the Red and Blue had outshot their rivals from the north five to three with freshman midfielder Emily Sands pelting three shots by herself. Still, looking back on the first half and the game as a whole, Quakers coach Van Dyke expressed regret that her team could have done better.
“There were probably a couple moments where we could have kept going, draw players out of spots, get behind [the defense] via either the dribble or a penetrating pass. We did a really good job of bringing pressure.”
To compound the struggles on the final third, the Quakers did not catch any breaks from the referees. After scoring a goal towards the end of the first half, the lineman made a questionable decision to call offsides. Van Dyke was not too pleased.
“Looking at the replay it was clearly not offsides,” she said.
Despite outplaying Dartmouth on the road, it was the Big Green who struck first, scoring a penalty kick in the 61st minute to take a 1-0 lead. However, Penn was not fazed as they continued to stay on the attack. Only four brief minutes later, Sands found senior defender Paige Lombard off a corner kick for her third goal of the season. Van Dyke was pleased with her team’s resilience.
“We could have easily crumpled on the road, but we responded with a great goal off a corner, so I think we showed a lot of character there.”
In fact, Penn continued to outwork their opponent, outshooting them five to two after giving up the goal off the penalty. Sands continued attacking and creating offense for the Quakers as she pelted two more shots at Dartmouth goalkeeper Casey Cousineau. In addition to Sands, sophomore forward Sasha Stephens boosted the offense with two more shots on goal, forcing Cousineau to make tough saves. Still, the minutes dwindled down and despite outplaying Dartmouth, the Quakers were headed to overtime.
Both overtime periods were more of the same. Dartmouth was on the attack in the early part of overtime, but it was all Penn for the rest of the half with shots on goal from Sands, Stephens, sophomore Allie Trzaska and senior Tahirih Nesmith. Dartmouth goalie Casey Cousineau excelled, repelling nine shots on goal over the course of the game. Penn freshman goalkeeper Kitty Qu made one save, only letting in the single goal from the penalty kick. All in all, the Quakers ended up outshooting Dartmouth 16 to seven in total shots and ten to two in shots on goal.
Despite tying an inferior opponent, there were several bright spots. Sands and Stephens combined for 11 shots and six shots on goal. Van Dyke called Sands one of their key “offensive playmakers.”
“Obviously no matter what, the team always wants to win, and so we’re disappointed with that, but as a coach I’d be disappointed if we didn’t put everything out there and they did that tonight,” Van Dyke said. “We did some really good moments of soccer and we got to continue to keep playing our style. Also our offense has improved tremendously from this year to last year.”
Sitting with a record of 1-2-1 in the Ivy League and in a three-way tie for 4th with Princeton and Yale, the Quakers must take advantage of their upcoming games against Yale on Saturday and Princeton on Nov. 5.
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