The Penn men's soccer team found out this weekend that one perfect half of soccer does not equal a win. Despite playing what Penn coach Rudy Fuller called "the best 45 minutes of Penn soccer" since he's been at the team's helm, the Quakers collapsed in the second half and lost on Saturday to Columbia, 3-1. Going into the game in New York, the Quakers were fresh off their first win of the season last Tuesday against Temple. "We came into the game with a great deal of confidence," Penn freshman William Libby said. "That certainly showed in the first half." The Quakers (1-4-2, 0-2-1 Ivy League) were intense in the first half, winning every loose ball and outplaying their opponents in every aspect of the game. "We were in complete control going into halftime," Fuller said. "It was a flawless half." The statistics support Fuller's assessment. Not only did Penn have a 1-0 lead, but it also outshot the Lions 13-2 and had all of the momentum. The Quakers scored their first and only goal with 41:30 left in the first half. Co-captain Reggie Brown started the run on the wing and passed the ball to junior Mike McElwain, who then gave a perfect touch pass to David Bonder. Bonder returned the ball to a diving McElwain who headed it just inside the post for his first goal of the season. "It was probably our best goal of the season," Brown said. However, the positives of the first 45 minutes were quickly forgotten in the first minutes of the second half as Columbia scored two goals within the first five minutes of play. Initially it looked as if the Quakers and Lions would play a more even half as both teams came out of the break enthusiastically. "The play was back and forth at the outset of the second half," Fuller said. "No one had attained control until they got a corner kick." It was this free kick that gave the Lions their first goal. On the corner, the ball was kicked so that it curved nicely towards the net. Two Lions crashed the goal and David Duffy knocked the ball in on a header to even the score. The second goal for Columbia (6-2, 1-2) came just minutes later. A Lions midfielder took control of the ball with space to work. He made a solid pass down the field, which was controlled by Leslie Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick made a nice move and passed the ball to Will Murphy who headed the ball in for Columbia's second goal. "The second goal was very similar to the first," Libby said. "But instead of a free corner kick, the forward took a pass and made a nice cross for a header." The third goal occurred with under two minutes left in the game. Penn pushed all of its players up to try to tie the score and Craig Smart broke through to score the last goal of the game. "We played well after the first five minutes of the second half," Fuller said. "But we have to be upset with ourselves for giving away those goals. We outshot our opponents 21-9 for the game which clearly shows what type of game we had." With the loss, the Quakers remain winless in the Ivy league, which has many players upset. "We've dug a big hole for ourselves in the league," Brown said. "We can't keep looking positively at losses if we don't turn things around." Despite the frustration, the team has not suffered a let down in effort. "We certainly have not given up," Libby said. "We just can't dwell on past games and have to concentrate on playing better in the next one."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.