Penn men's soccer could not defend its home field, as Dartmouth rolled to a dominant victory on Saturday night.
The Quakers had multiple opportunities in front of the Big Green's goal but failed to score in their 4-0 loss at Rhodes Field. Although the loss was disappointing, coach Rudy Fuller and the Quakers (2-8-1, 0-2-1 Ivy) will look to take as many positives away from the game as possible.
"I think there are a lot of positives to take away, but there's still a lot of lessons that this game can teach," Fuller said.
The match was physical throughout, as the Big Green (8-2-1, 2-0-1) worked to hold its early lead, while the Quakers looked to claw their way into the match.
Dartmouth has been the one of the best teams in the Ivy League to this point in the season, sitting atop the conference standings with seven points accumulated thus far.
"Dartmouth is a big team, and they are very deliberate in how they play. They get forward quickly, You have to be able to control the first and second balls in midfield, and I think our guys did an outstanding job of that tonight," Fuller said.
The matchup with a talented team posed a difficult task for the Quakers. However large the task was, though, the hosts sought to come out and take the game to their visitors.
"The focus for us, coming in, was to really try to assert ourselves in midfield, try to force them to turn and face their own goal and try to put pressure on their goal. I think we checked all those boxes tonight," Fuller said.
The game was ultimately decided by the teams' execution. The Quakers dominated the midfield throughout the game and carried the ball well into the Dartmouth zone, but failed to put the ball in the net. Whereas Dartmouth converted on all four of its shots.
"I felt like we carried the game between the eighteens, but games are won and lost in the eighteens; they had four shots, they scored four goals," Fuller said. "Looking at the overall performance, when you outshoot a team like Dartmouth nine-to-four, that’s a good performance, and it's unfortunate that we walk away with nothing," Fuller said of his team's strong effort.
Another positive Fuller drew from the match was his team's strong youth movement.
The youthful Quakers have grown together throughout the season and have formed a close bond with one another, as evident by their willingness to support freshman Jake Kohlbrenner after his injury late in the first half. Fortunately, Kohlbrenner would return to start the second half for the trailing Quakers.
"The culture of the locker room and the chemistry of our team is as good as it has been in a long time," Fuller said.
The Quakers will look to get back in the win column on Tuesday night against Villanova at Rhodes Field.
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