For a while, it looked as if not-so-instant karma was going to get the Penn men's soccer team. After beating Lafayette last Wednesday while being outplayed, the Quakers (5-4) put forth a stronger effort in the first half of their game with La Salle (2-7) yesterday afternoon but headed into the half trailing 1-0. Soon after the second half began, however, it became clear that if karma was going to point its fateful finger at Penn, it would do it another day. The Quakers scored four goals in the second 45 minutes of play to defeat the Explorers by a score of 4-2. With the victory, Penn pushed itself over the .500 mark for the first time since it won its season opener, and it surpassed last season's total number of victories. The win was also Penn's fourth in a row at Rhodes Field. The pivotal sequence of the game occurred when the Quakers scored two goals in a one minute, nine second span in the early portion of the second half. Penn midfielder Nathan Kennedy slid a shot to La Salle goalkeeper Josh Schoppe's right but just wide of the net twenty seconds into the half. The Quakers were thus denied in their attempt to tie the game at one, but they didn't stop pressing the La Salle defense, and were eventually rewarded with two scores. "We had a good talk with [the team] at halftime, and we felt like we didn't give it our full attention and effort in the first half," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "Give the guys all the credit in the world. They came out and set things straight in the second half." With 38 minutes and 46 seconds left in the game, Penn forward/midfielder Billy Libby found teammate Austin Deng in front of the net with a crossing pass. Deng pushed the ball to Schoppe's right, and once Schoppe committed, Deng dribbled around him a bit more and punched the ball into the back of the net, tying the score at one. A little over one minute later, Penn midfielder Alex Maasry put the Quakers up for good. Schoppe made an initial save on Maasry's shot, but he wasn't able to hold onto the ball. The rebound flew about 10 feet into the air, and Maasry headed it into the goal to give Penn a 2-1 lead. Maasry, who is starting to heat up for the Quakers at a critical junction in their season, was also involved in Penn's fourth goal of the day. With less than 13 minutes left in the game, Maasry induced a La Salle defender to cough up the ball in Explorers territory. The Washington, D.C., native dribbled towards the net on Schoppe's right and drew him out. Maasry sent a crossing pass to Libby, who was all alone in front of the goal. Libby kicked the ball into the open net to give Penn a 4-1 lead. "I think the goalie thought I was going to shoot it, but I knew Billy [Libby] would be coming around at the far post, so I tipped it across to the far post and Billy was right there," Maasry said. "He made a good touch into the goal, you know, wide open net. It was a good finish." The Quakers' third goal wasn't as pretty, but it turned out to be the eventual winning score. Midfielder Henry Chen sent a free kick hurtling towards the net. The ball found its way through the goalmouth scrum and onto the foot of Kennedy, who sent it into the net to give the Quakers a two-goal lead. Kennedy's score came with 23:27 to play in the game. In the first half, Penn played better than it did against Lafayette, but Fuller and company were still not happy with the effort displayed nor the goal that was allowed that gave La Salle the early lead. Despite pressing the La Salle defense and keeping the ball on the Explorers half of the field for a good portion of the half, the Quakers found themselves on the defensive with roughly eight and a half minutes left in the half. With 8:17 left, La Salle forward/midfielder Stephen Kohut found himself alone with the ball roughly 15 feet away from the net. He put it past Penn goalkeeper Jeff Groeber low and on Groeber's left. La Salle had a 1-0 lead which it would take into halftime. Despite several La Salle scoring chances in the second half -- hitting a post and a crossbar -- the Explorers weren't able to score again until Penn had built its 4-1 lead. Kohut punched the ball into the net on a penalty kick with just over nine minutes to go. The score cut the Penn lead to 4-2, but the game was already out of reach.Comments powered by Disqus
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