You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. The words to this Bachman-Turner Overdrive sports arena staple seem to be the mantra for the Penn men's soccer team as it hits the midway point of the season. "I think we've started to hit our stride," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "We've put two good games back to back and we're really looking forward to the remaining 10 games starting tomorrow." After gaining their first win of the season last week and playing 85 minutes of solid soccer over the weekend in a loss to Columbia, the Quakers (1-4-2) are confident as they head to Easton, Pa., to face off against Lafayette today. This confidence stems not only from the team's strong play in the last two games but also from the team's improving chemistry on the field. "Slowly but surely, people have started to settle in to some spots on the field for us and we've done pretty well," Fuller said. "The team has started to bond on the field over the past two games and it's started to show." Fuller pointed to co-captain Mike O'Connor's steady play in goal and senior Jason Karageorge's performance at the defensive center position, which was new for him at the beginning of the season. Fuller also mentioned that freshmen Nathan Kennedy and Eric Mandel have established themselves in the center midfield. This solidification will certainly benefit the team, especially when compared to the coaches' early season lineup-shifting in an attempt to find the best possible field players. "We've gotten a lot of guys time [and] 17 different field players have started games for us," Fuller said. "I think that that has had something to do with our results." Despite a great first half against Columbia on Saturday, the Quakers were not able to gain their first win in the Ivy League. Penn took a 1-0 lead into halftime but was caught flat-footed as the Lions scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half. "We showed that we can play with anyone in the first half of the Columbia game," O'Connor said. "And in the second half, we saw that we can fall asleep against anyone as well." The Quakers now get a three-week break from the Ivy League but the team hopes the progress continues. "It's probably easier to get up for Ivy League games," Fuller said. "But we prepare the team the same for every game and the guys try to prepare the same for each game." It shouldn't be difficult for the Quakers to get excited about Lafayette. Last season, the Leopards shut out Penn 3-0, so revenge should be on the team's mind. "Last year we outplayed them but they defended well and had three counterattack goals and we lost," Fuller said. "Tomorrow, we have to think about going after them once again and staying patient on the attack and not getting frustrated if we're not rewarded for our play." Lafayette (4-3-2) is coming off a 1-0 overtime win against St. Francis (N.Y.). Despite concentrating on defense -- the team has three shutouts already this season -- Lafayette boasts Jake Ross, who is the Patriot League's leading scorer. Ross has seven goals and two assists, including the winning goal in the St. Francis game. "Lafayette is a team of good players," co-captain Reggie Brown said. "They're a solid team and we're going to have to go after them for the full 90 minutes." The Quakers, however, are choosing to focus more on themselves, rather than worrying more about their opponents. "The most important thing for us is how we're playing," Fuller said. "I think if we concentrate on ourselves and prepare ourselves to play at the highest level we can, we'll do very well."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.