After a tough 1-1 draw with Georgetown Friday night that saw the Quakers out-shoot the Hoyas, 25-12, sophomore forward Stephen Baker and the rest of Penn men’s soccer made sure to cash in on their opportunities Sunday afternoon.
The result was eight shots and two goals for Baker, who paced the Quakers to a 2-1 victory over Villanova.
Just two days earlier, with the Red and Blue (3-2-1) down one, Baker couldn’t find the net despite nine shots on the night.
However, Baker was unable to find the back of the net that day as Penn begrudgingly walked away with a tie.
“We felt good about how we played on Friday, certainly felt like we deserved three points from that game,” coach Rudy Fuller said.
Baker wasn’t worried about not finding the back of the net on Friday.
“I’d be more worried if I wasn’t getting the chances, I just knew that if I keep getting chances, eventually one would go in,” he added.
Sunday, Baker kept getting his chances against the Wildcats (2-3-2). He found that elusive goal when he finished a cross from freshman Duke Lacroix.
In the 26th minute, Baker added his second goal of the match when he cranked a rebound from senior Christian Barreiro high and into the net.
“[Baker is] a big time striker. The whole team and coaching staff are very confident that when [Baker] gets the opportunities, he will convert those chances,” Fuller said.
After the first half, Villanova and Penn had both managed 10 shots, but the Quakers were getting more quality looks on net. As the second half began, the Red and Blue looked to make a strong push to solidify their lead. Baker came inches away from the hat trick, as he peppered Wildcat goalkeeper John Fogarty with multiple shots on target. Barreiro also had his own opportunity to add to the Penn lead, but was just inches wide as well.
“We just had to grind it out and hold on,” Baker explained.
Villanova managed to make things interesting when junior midfielder Emerson Lawrence converted on a penalty kick following defender Jake Levin’s foul in the box. In a bizarre turn of events, however, Lawrence essentially ended the Wildcats’ chances when he stood over and taunted Penn keeper Max Kurtzman. Lawrence was sent off for the rest of the game leaving Villanova down a man and a goal with just under five minutes remaining.
The Red and Blue stymied the Wildcats for the final few minutes and held on for the 2-1 victory.