After a brief stopover in Long Island, where the Penn women's soccer team made quick work of Stony Brook, the Quakers will get back into Ivy League play this weekend as they travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to square off against league-rival Cornell. The Big Red, fresh off a loss to Penn State on Tuesday, will come into the contest with a lowly 1-3 record, having fallen to all of their non-league opponents. Penn coach Darren Ambrose, however, believes the Big Red are better than their record might indicate. "They are not a 1-3 team. They lost to Penn State and went on the road and lost two in Colorado. When you go on the road in Colorado, you're going to get tough games," Ambrose said. "Their record does not really reflect the team that they are." The Big Red's win at Columbia last weekend also bodes well for Cornell. The 2-1 victory has catapulted them to the top of the Ivy League standings, at least for the moment. After just one game, Cornell has already produced half of the wins that it recorded last season in Ancient Eight competition, a season that saw the Big Red finish with just a 2-5 league record. The Quakers were one of the Ivy League squads that beat up on Cornell last year, shutting them out, 1-0, at Rhodes Field. It's a different year and a different field, but the Red and Blue will look to once again defeat the women from Ithaca. The task will be more difficult this season, however, being that Penn must go on the road and play on unfamiliar territory. "Any Ivy League game is a battle -- home or away," Ambrose said. "The fact that you're playing away makes it that much more difficult." Ambrose went on to cite the difficulties of playing soccer games on the road. "You have to travel, you have to adjust to field conditions, you have to get off a three-hour bus trip and go out and play," he said. "Road games are tough... period." Road game or not, the Red and Blue understand that this is a must-win game. They cannot afford to drop their first two league games and fall any deeper into the Ancient Eight basement. "We only have seven games a year in our league, and each one is highly valued," Ambrose said. "So we need to get off with a win in the Ivies... and this is a great time to do it." But if the Quakers want to win this weekend, they know that they have to continue to improve and finish on more scoring opportunities, something they have been struggling with recently. Simply put, they have to put the ball in the back of the net. "We're trying to play better and better than the game before," central defender and senior co-captain Ashley Kjar said. "Our main goal this weekend is to finish chances because against Harvard we didn't do that. "We gotta win this weekend," she added. The time is now and Penn knows it. A loss could put the Quakers out of the running for a league championship, while a victory would give the Red and Blue some much-needed momentum. Despite this pressure, the Quakers are still quite confident with their chances on Sunday. "We expect to play well and hopefully come away with a win," said freshman forward Ayla Gustafson, one of the many Penn newcomers this season. "We're all really excited for the game," sophomore forward Heidi Nichols added. "All Ivy League games are huge."Comments powered by Disqus
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