So much swimming, only to die on the shore. That's the sensation that the Penn men's soccer team had yesterday after a painful loss at the hands of Philadelphia University at Ravenshill Field. After valiantly battling back from a two-goal, second-half deficit to tie the Rams at two, the Quakers gave up a late goal in the waning moments of the contest and lost, 3-2. Much like its loss at Dartmouth on September 30, Penn was sure it was going to win -- and didn't. "We came out in the second half and tied it up at 2-2, and I think everyone really felt like we were going to win the game," said Penn goalkeeper Jeff Groeber, who made five saves on the day. "We just didn't put the game away. That was our fault for not finishing off the other team." The backbreaking goal came a little over 11 minutes after Penn had stolen the momentum from Philadelphia by tying it at two. Rams midfielder David Ortega scored in the 73rd minute to put his team in front, 3-2. His score came off of a breakaway, and Groeber didn't feel it was a respectable goal. "There was confusion in the back, and [Ortega] got the ball and came down, and Eric Mandel was marking him, but he got through," Groeber said. "He just drilled it right off the post into the side netting. He hit a bomb, and he got lucky as hell." The Philadelphia goal essentially took the Quakers out of the game after they had clawed their way back into it. "We gave away a goal after doing so well to come back," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "We come back to tie it 2-2 and we really have the momentum, and we just didn't get that third goal. I think if we would have gotten that third unanswered goal to go up 3-2, I think that would have been it. I think [the Rams] would have been done." Ortega's backbreaker came mere minutes after Penn forward Billy Libby scored his and the Quakers' second goal of the day to pull them even with Philadelphia. Libby, assisted by midfielder Henry Chen, put the ball past Philadelphia goalkeeper Scott Nixon 61:14 into the game. Chen also set up Libby's first goal in the 51st minute. It was Penn's first goal on the day, and it jumpstarted the Quakers after they had fallen behind 2-0. Philadelphia forward Jason Dziejak gave the Rams their initial lead on the day, putting the ball past Groeber with 3:19 left in the first half. Philadelphia defender Kevin Brien was credited with an assist on the play. The Rams made it 2-0 just 45 seconds into the second half, when Dziejak dished the ball off to fellow forward Everett Palache, who drilled it into the back of the net. "Very similarly to the Lafayette game and the La Salle game, we didn't come out and compete at the start of the game," Fuller said. "We put ourselves in a hole like we did against La Salle, and we came out in the second half and gave up an early goal to go down 2-0, and then we started playing.... We shouldn't have put ourselves in that situation, and I definitely think we put ourselves in that hole." The loss was Penn's fifth on the road this season. The Quakers are unbeaten at Rhodes Field, however, suggesting that they have some sort of mental block when it comes to travelling to other teams' fields. Penn is 1-0 on neutral turf. Fuller, while puzzled with the night-and-day nature of his charges, dismisses the notion. "It's certainly not something that I've thought about or I think the guys have thought about," he said. "I just think that's the way the results have gone. We've obviously played some tough teams on the road, playing... at Richmond, at Cornell. I wouldn't read anything into that." Penn won't have to worry about playing on the road when it resumes its Ivy schedule this Saturday afternoon at Rhodes Field against Columbia. With the Lions visiting Penn, the Quakers will have their third chance this season to win their first Ivy game since 1997, and they feel like they have a good shot at doing it. "I'm certain our guys are going to be ready to go on Saturday, and I would expect a good result," Fuller said. So far this season, the Lions are 1-1 in the Ivy League, having knocked off defending champion Princeton in New York on September 30, 3-1. Last year, Columbia defeated Penn in New York by that same score. The Quakers will try to forget about yesterday's heartbreaker and focus on Columbia. "We haven't been putting together complete games these past few games, although we've gotten some good results," Fuller said of yesterday's game. "I think it just caught up to us."Comments powered by Disqus
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