Out of contention, men's soccer eyes upset over hot Bears
All three of Quakers' Ivy losses have come by one goal
October 27, 2011, 10:44 pm · Updated October 27, 2011, 10:47 pm·
In a frustrating season that has included three Ivy League losses by the slimmest of margins, senior Thomas Brandt is ready for the Penn men’s soccer team’s luck to turn around.
“We have to be on the right side of a one-goal game this week,” the captain said.
The sixth-place Quakers (6-6-2, 1-3 Ivy) have suffered gut-wrenching defeat after gut-wrenching defeat this month, most recently a double-overtime loss to Yale.
This weekend, they’ll face the challenging task of stopping a hot Brown team (8-4-2, 2-1-1) in Providence, R.I. Brown currently sits in fourth place as it tries to trim the lead of first-place Cornell. Brown hasn’t lost in its last five games.
At the front of Brown’s hot streak is striker T.J. Popolizio. Popolizio is second in the league with eight goals, including two in Brown’s 3-2 overtime victory over Princeton on Oct. 8.
Penn’s center-back combo of Brandt and senior Jake Levin has the talent to slow down the Bears’ attack, according to Penn coach Rudy Fuller.
“Our most talented guys match up nicely with Brown’s most talented guys,” Fuller said.
“It will be vital to slow down the Brown offense,” Brandt said. “The back four need to work a as cohesive unit, and the midfield needs to limit Brown’s counter-attack.”
On top of Brown’s powerful offense, Penn’s defense is faced with the possibility of losing starting freshman goalkeeper Max Kurtzman. The keeper, who ranks third in the league in saves, suffered a shoulder injury last week and has been wearing a sling all week.
Fuller classified his starting goalie as day-to-day and said he’ll have to assess the situation based on how Kurtzman feels leading up to Saturday.
If Kurtzman is unable to play Saturday at Brown, sophomore Tyler Kinn will start in his place. Brandt said nothing will change defensively if Kinn starts.
“We’ve seen him in practice, and he’s made some great saves,” he said.
Fuller added that he has the “utmost confidence in Kinn.”
“He’s played in a game this year [home against Long Island], and he’ll be ready if we have to call on him this Saturday.”
On the offensive side, the team has had trouble capitalizing on its chances, which is perhaps the main reason the Quakers have been on the wrong side of all three of their one-goal Ivy League losses.
In the four Ivy games thus far, Penn leads the league with 59 shots, but it sits just seventh in goals with 13.
But Fuller and his team aren’t looking back at haunting numbers like those. They’re proceeding like it’s business as usual.
“Nothing has changed in our approach against Brown this week,” the coach said.