After a brutal loss at Cornell to open its Ivy season -- not to mention the three days of self-flagellation that followed -- the Penn men's soccer team finally found a whipping boy of its own. On the wings of a dominating offensive and defensive performance from start to finish, the Quakers obliterated Temple yesterday at a muddy and chilly Rhodes Field, 4-0. Penn's third win of the year brought the team back to the .500 mark and washed away some of the bitter taste suffered in the loss to the Big Red. With three days of grueling practice and introspection under their belts, the Quakers turned in a fine effort after playing listlessly in Ithaca. Penn coach Rudy Fuller, for one, couldn't have been more pleased. "Certainly, the things we talked about that hurt us on Friday night, we were very strong in today," Fuller said after the game. "Three of our four goals came from getting on the end of crosses in the box, and we were very clean in our own box defensively." Once Penn built a four-goal lead, it was its defensive effort that kept Temple (1-5) from making it interesting. "Clearly, it was a big improvement from Friday," Penn defender Niko Vittas said while noting that there was area for improvement, particularly in keeping pressure on opponents' defenses. "We really did a good job just playing a lot harder and competing and challenging and just winning the individual battles in the back." Temple was never able to penetrate Penn's defense consistently, and when it did, goalkeeper Jeff Groeber was there to keep the ball out of the net. The Owls' best chance to get back into the game came with just over 34 minutes to go in the second half, as Temple midfielder Jim Raisch found himself alone with the ball 20 feet away from the right side of the goal, with only Groeber to beat. Groeber came out to challenge Raisch, who deked in an effort to find a clear shot at the goal. Groeber partially committed, but was able to deflect Raisch's shot with his fingers, sending the ball harmlessly wide. "I just think about making the save," said Groeber, who registered his second shutout of the season. "While the shutout may be in my mind during the game, when I'm making the save, I'm just thinking about keeping the ball out of the net." The spectacular play epitomized Penn's defensive prowess in the second half, just as the events of the first minute of play epitomized Penn's offensive prowess in the first half. After the opening kick, the Quakers sent the ball deep into the Owls' territory -- deep enough so that the Temple midfield, playing shallow, could not properly clear the ball, resulting in a Penn corner kick. Penn midfielder Henry Chen took the corner, and defender John Salvucci deposited the ball in the net for his first collegiate goal and the eventual winning goal of the contest. "We make a lot of mistakes that cost us goals," Temple coach David MacWilliams said, sounding not unlike Fuller did after the loss to Cornell. Fifteen minutes later, forward Sam Chamovitz scored the first of his two goals when he weaved his way toward the goal and punched the ball into the right side of the net. Chamovitz, who seems to be heating up at just the right time for the Quakers, scored the fourth Penn goal in the 40th minute, when he headed a Chris Kan pass into the net. "[Sam] scored two goals, and I don't think it's a secret why," Fuller said. "He was really busy up front for us when we had the ball, and he was rewarded for that hard work." Penn defender Will Lee scored his first collegiate goal and the Quakers' third goal on the day when Kan's crossing pass found Lee's foot exactly 20 minutes into the game -- in essence, sealing the Owls' fate. Heading into a critical Ivy League match at Dartmouth on Saturday, Penn desperately needed the kind of performance it turned in against Temple yesterday afternoon. "I think it's one step. One game isn't consistency, and I think our guys know that," Fuller said. "This was a good first step. With all due respect to Temple, we were a better team than them."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.