So far, the Quakers are showing improvement over their poor scoring pace of the 1998 season. In soccer, two goals in two games is not considered any great feat. But for the Penn men's soccer team, this accomplishment, achieved last weekend, shows that the Quakers (0-1-1, 0-0 Ivy League) are on the right track to rebuilding the program. The Red and Blue hope to add to this rebirth by notching their first win of the season against Ivy rival Dartmouth at Rhodes Field on Saturday. "We have to take advantage of our home games and set a tone with this first one," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "We want opponents to be afraid to play at Rhodes Field." Last year, Penn won its first home game with a 1-0 victory against Temple. Reggie Brown scored the Quakers' only goal. Until that game, Penn was 0-5 and Brown's goal was only their fourth of the season. In fact, it took Penn four games to score its first two goals in 1998. One of those early losses last season was to Dartmouth at Hanover. The 1998 competition was also the third of the season. In that game, then-nationally ranked Dartmouth came out victorious despite Penn taking a 1-0 lead into the half. "Last season, we had the lead but Dartmouth was a more talented team and played up to its potential in the second half," Fuller said. "This year I feel that we have the talent to win the game." The Big Green come into the match 0-2 after losses to Hofstra and Vermont. In fact, they have yet to score a goal as both losses were 1-0 defeats. Dartmouth is 20-10-6 over the past two seasons but returns only two seniors. Fuller, however, is not fooled by the lack of fourth-year players. "With Dartmouth, you know that you're going to get a hard-fought game," he said. "They're young, but they return some players in key positions." Two of these key players are sophomore midfielder Daniel Markman and junior forward Brad Christof. Both are offensive threats that the Quakers need to defend well if they are to win. Fuller points out that the key to last year's loss was losing first and second balls. Dartmouth would not only be the first to balls in the air but also on the ground. "We won many balls in the first half last year [but] we just have to do that for a full 90 minutes," Fuller said. If last weekend was any indication, Penn should show plenty of intensity for the whole game. At the George Mason Tournament in Fairfax, Va., Penn came away with a tie, a loss and a good feeling about the rest of the season. In the first game against James Madison, freshman Nathan Kennedy opened the scoring and the Quakers had a 1-0 lead. James Madison fired back and tied the score but Reggie Brown put Penn ahead again with his first goal of the season. Thirty-two seconds later, however, JMU put one past goalie Mike O'Connor and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Despite the tie, the Quakers still had a chance to win the tournament if they could have beaten George Mason by more than two goals. Penn had many opportunities in the first half, but could not score. With just over one minute gone in the second half, George Mason put a ball in on a corner. Penn could not respond and lost 1-0. "It's unfortunate we were caught napping on the corner kick, because we really played a solid game and outplayed our competition," Fuller said. Although the Quakers did not win, there were many bright spots to the weekend. O'Connor was named to the All-Tournament team, as was senior Jason Karageorge and freshman Eric Mandel. Mandel, however, was not the only freshman standout. "The performance of all the freshmen was fantastic," Fuller said. "It says a lot about the guys and the depth of the class." With the confidence of the team and the impressive performance of the freshmen, the Quakers could double their total in goals and wins from this time last season by the end of Saturday.Comments powered by Disqus
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