Penn's Stephen Baker strikes back
Sophomotr forward returns from injury, scores game-winning goal
November 7, 2011, 12:01 am · Updated November 7, 2011, 12:01 am·
Katie Rubin | DP
In a game dedicated to the seniors, two sophomores showed up big time.
At the 75th minute, sophomore forward Stephen Baker scored the game-winning goal, giving the Quakers their first win since Oct. 8 against Columbia.
Baker, who hadn’t played since getting injured in that same game, drilled in an explosive shot into the far post, beating the defenseless Princeton goalkeeper to seal the 2-1 victory.
“I made a flat line across their back four and Jonny [Dolezal] played the ball over the top,” Baker said. “I saw the goalie on the near post and just tried to hit it as far as I could toward the far post. I made good contact and got it right were I wanted.”
Baker’s impact throughout the night was not lost on the mind of head coach Rudy Fuller.
“To go down a goal made it very difficult but they never gave in and found a way back in it … And what a goal by Stephen Baker to win it,” he said. “[Baker] makes a big difference.”
The Red and Blue (7-7-2, 2-4 Ivy) had to overcome a slow start to beat the Tigers (5-9-2, 1-4-1) for the first time since 2006. The defense looked outmatched during the first 25 minutes, and Princeton’s dynamic duo of Antoine Hoppenot and Julian Griggs seemed unstoppable.
Five minutes into the game, Hoppenot made a long pass toward Griggs, who won the loose ball and easily converted on the first shot of the game.
“I thought that the first 20 minutes we were lumping our goal kicks in the other half, all of our restarts, and that’s not us,” Fuller said.
“It’s not that we were struggling but we weren’t keeping the ball as well as we had the potential to,” senior back Jake Levin said. “As center backs, we needed to drop out and do whatever we can to keep the ball and make them chase, make them play defense as much as possible.”
But the Quakers broke through, and ended up outshooting the Tigers, 9-6, on the night.
At the 36th minute, Levin scored on a free kick to tie the game — the first Ivy goal of his career and just his fourth collegiate score ever.
“The ball just came and I spanked it in. To be honest, there’s no feeling like it but it’s much better to see Baker put in the win,” the joyous senior said.
“A lot was running through my head before this game especially with my parents and my brother here. It means a lot to play in front of a lot of people who played in the program before me,” he added.
The other star of this game was Penn sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Kinn. He made four big saves for the Red and Blue, including two in the last five minutes to lock up the win.
“[Kinn] is an unknown to everybody else, but is well-known within our team,” Fuller said. “I have the upmost confidence in him.”
The goalie remained humble even after a clutch performance.
“There’s nothing better than making a big save, Kinn said. “I made the saves that pretty much had to be made and the backline made the rest of all the other chances.”