The Penn women's soccer team just keeps rolling at Rhodes Field. The Quakers manhandled St. Joseph's, 5-1, in their home opener yesterday after dropping their first match at Delaware, 2-0, on Friday. The Penn victory keeps the Red and Blue's home winning tradition alive. They have not been defeated on home turf since 1998, having gone a perfect 7-0 last year. "I think we needed to win on our home field for our confidence," senior captain Kelli Toland said. "We have a lot of pride when it comes to playing here at Rhodes Field." And obviously feeling far more comfortable on familiar grounds than at the Yellowstone-like 110x65-yard field in Delaware, Penn put together a superb all-around effort, which even included an unexpected scoring surge. Before the Hawks could blink, Quakers freshman Ayla Gustafson found the back of the net at the 5:00 mark with an assist from Toland. Toland added another assist later on and also scored a goal. "Kelli is obviously one of our playmakers," said Penn head coach Darren Ambrose, who earned his first-ever win at the Pennsylvania helm. The onslaught continued as the Red and Blue would score three more times in the first half. In the first 45 minutes, St. Joe's was unable to even register a shot. Aside from Toland, the other offensive star of yesterday's game was Quakers sophomore Heather Taylor. The East Northport, N.Y., native tallied Penn's second goal at the 15:00 mark on a deflection of a corner kick. She also notched the Quakers' last score, doing so unassisted on a breakaway, literally seconds after St. Joe's scored its lone goal in the 78th minute. The turnaround was so fast that the scoreboard operator hadn't even restarted the game clock following the St. Joe's goal by senior Courtney Kennedy. Leading up to that point, Taylor said that she was less than thrilled with the way she had played, despite her earlier goal. She then became more aggressive and kicked her game into a higher gear. "I wasn't very pleased with my performance," Taylor said. "I got fed up and decided I was gonna go straight to the goal." Not quite everything came up roses for the Penn women. Ambrose was not entirely satisfied with his club's effort on the side of the ball that he thought would be his team's strength. "Defensively, we have some work to do, and the girls know it," he said. The Red and Blue may have only surrendered one goal yesterday, but that's one more than they allowed in all of last year's home games combined. "We were disappointed to give up the goal," Ambrose said. Instead, the pleasant surprise was on offense. Penn succeeded yesterday afternoon in executing Ambrose's possession-oriented offense, but the Quakers looked anything but conservative. The Penn women were relentless, continuing to attack and beat the Hawks to loose balls all day long, even when they had built a rather cozy four-goal lead. And although they could have been crisper on defense, some players felt that Penn's tenacity in that department may have opened up some scoring chances. "I think we came together [yesterday]," Taylor said. "We had a lot to prove." Another good sign for Penn was that four different players were responsible for the five goals. After losing key scorers from last year, the Red and Blue will have to receive contributions from a variety of sources like it did on Sunday. "Without [Andrea and Jill] Callaghan, our scoring will be balanced," Ambrose said. Now with the first win behind them, Penn looks forward to enjoying at least as much success as it did last year when it reached NCAAs for the first time ever. The Penn women will next face off against Drexel on Wednesday afternoon, when they look to extend their eight-game home winning streak at Rhodes Field. News and Notes Penn junior Sabrina Fenton scored in the 35th minute. Fenton scored three goals as a freshman, but none last yearComments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.