Loss to Brown dooms men's soccer to losing season
Battling unplayable conditions, Penn suffers season-crushing 1-0 loss
October 30, 2011, 11:06 pm·
With the rain and snow that pelted the northeast this weekend, Saturday’s men’s soccer match between Penn and Brown was shaping up to be unpleasant no matter the result.
The Bears’ 1-0 victory only made the night worse for the Quakers.
Penn (6-7-2, 1-4 Ivy) entered the game facing a desperate situation — at 1-3 in conference play, the Quakers’ hopes for an Ivy League were all but gone. The Quakers left with no hope of breaking the .500 mark in the conference, eliminated from the title hunt.
The snowstorm put the game in doubt — the Red and Blue were actually surprised when the game was played as planned.
Coach Rudy Fuller pointed out that both the Cornell-Princeton and Yale-Columbia games were rescheduled for Sunday but also said “that decision is ultimately up to the host institution.”
When the game actually got underway, it played out exactly as expected: sloppy and slow.
Fuller described the weather as “the toughest conditions I’ve ever coached in.”
Neither team was able to get into any kind of offensive rhythm. The Quakers were able to fire off a respectable 10 shots, while the Bears added eight of their own, but that was not indicative of the flow of the game.
Fuller was not happy with how the conditions altered the game.
“It was a game of chance at that point, a coin flip,” he said. “Each team was just trying to dump it into the other team’s zone and keep it away from [their goal].”
Given the team’s attitude to clear whenever possible, Fuller and the Quakers knew the game was going to come down to a set piece.
“The game of soccer was rendered moot at that point,” Fuller said.
The Bears eventually got the first opportunity at the critical set piece in the 63rd minute, when Austin Mandel was awarded a penalty kick.
With starting goalkeeper Max Kurtzman out with a shoulder injury, sophomore Tyler Kinn faced a critical challenge in his first start at keeper for the Quakers.
Kinn filled in admirably, stopping the other three shots sent his way. However, he was unable to stop Mandel on the penalty, giving Brown a decisive 1-0 lead.
Penn couldn’t find the back of the net for the remainder of the match. In fact, the Quakers were only able to put one shot on goal in the full 90 minutes.
The one-goal loss was just the latest for the Quakers. Every one of their losses in the Ivy League this season has been by one goal. The Red and Blue were on the right side of many of those same games last season.
Fuller thinks that the Quakers have been a bit snake-bitten.
“As with any sport, sometimes the breaks are going your way and other times they aren’t,” he said. “Unfortunately for us, our season is too short to recover if things aren’t going our way.”
Despite being eliminated from the Ivy race, the Quakers still have two big games left on their schedule against Princeton and Harvard.
Last year, Penn and Princeton played in the de facto Ivy championship game. The Tigers came out on top and captured the title. The next week Harvard rolled into Rhodes field and upset the Quakers in the league finale.
“Guys had these next two games circled at the beginning of the year,” Fuller said.