The Penn women's soccer team hasn't been flashy this season, and the Quakers haven't put together any lengthy winning streaks. But they've been consistent; make no mistake about it. And beyond that, and perhaps even more importantly, they're resilient. After suffering a tough loss at Dartmouth on Saturday, the Quakers (5-3, 1-2 Ivy League) responded to a pregame challenge from coach Darren Ambrose by rebounding with a hardfought 1-0 victory over Bucknell last night in Lewisburg, Pa. Penn has shown its grit on a number of occasions already this season, particularly after it followed up a shattering defeat to Harvard with successive wins against Stony Brook and Cornell, both on the road. "I think the team played excellent [against Bucknell]," senior midfielder Angela Konstantaras said. "This is a great turnaround for us." Although the 7 p.m. game played in central Pennsylvania under the lights last night wasn't against an Ivy opponent, the Bucknell Bison were no pushover. "Bucknell has some very fast players," Penn head coach Darren Ambrose said. "They surprised me a little bit with their athleticism." Penn was up for the challenge and was well equipped for Bucknell's attack because of a new strategy implemented by Ambrose. The Quakers played a 3-5-2 formation in an effort to both cater to the team's strength and also galvanize a sometimes lackadaisical offense. The new lineup worked wonders in the first game, and Ambrose's brainchild was met with rave reviews from his players. "It gives me an opportunity to get some space in front of me," freshman midfielder Heather Issing said. "I think it was a very wise choice to switch to this formation." With this system in place, the Quakers used five midfielders, rather than the traditional four played by most teams. Ambrose doesn't plan on going back to the old plan any time soon. "I think we're now playing to the strength of the program," Ambrose said. "It generated a lot more possession." Although the Penn coach admits that his club is still not capitalizing on many of its opportunities, the lone Quaker goal that sophomore forward Heather Taylor was able to push past Bison goalie Laurie Purse proved to be enough. Taylor scored off of a corner kick at the 23:12 mark in the first half, with an assist from senior midfielder Aidan Viggiano. Ambrose was quick to distribute praise to a number of his players, especially those who contributed to the Red and Blue's usual outstanding defense. The first-year coach was very complimentary of Issing, who he said played a fantastic game. "She had a presence on the field," Ambrose said. Sophomore midfielder/forward Heidi Nichols was also steady after returning from an ankle injury that kept her sidelined for three weeks. Ambrose also made special mention of Konstantaras, who is accustomed to dazzling her opponents with spin moves and a sneaky quickness. Everything clicked last night, and the Pleasant Hill, Calif., native's talents were on full display. "I thought Angela probably played her best game of the year tonight," Ambrose said. "She really lit it up." The Quakers now stand at an impressive 3-1 on their current five-game stretch on the road, with the final game of this stint taking place Sunday night at Navy.Comments powered by Disqus
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