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Billy Libby and the Penn men's soccer team suffered a tough overtime loss last night against a very solid Rutgers side. (Lauren Hittner/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

In the past six days, the Penn men's soccer team has gone from one end of the spectrum of heartbreaking losses to the other. After being embarrassed by Yale, 6-0, last Friday night in New Haven, Conn., the Quakers dropped a hard-fought match on the road to a skilled Rutgers team, 5-4, in overtime. But if there is such a thing as a moral victory, Penn's loss last night would probably qualify as one. Travelling to New Brunswick, N.J., to play the Scarlet Knights -- last year's Big East regular season champion and an NCAA tournament participant -- is a daunting task for any team, the Quakers included. But after Rutgers took an early 2-0 lead, Penn battled back and made a game of it -- almost pulling off an upset that would have been the high point of the season. "We certainly would have liked to get the result," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "Through the second half and overtime, I felt we deserved to get the win, based on our play.... We're happy with our effort. "The most important thing is that the team answered a lot of questions about itself today. We were obviously extremely disappointed with our play at Yale. That was a very difficult game to come away from. There were a lot of guys looking for answers... and they proved to themselves and to others that there is still a lot of season left in them." Penn midfielder Alex Maasry was also pleased with the effort, and what it could mean in the final three games of the season -- all Ivy matches. "We came in with an attitude, we've got four games in the season left, we've got to give it our all, this is a great opportunity," he said. "[We wanted] to get one of the biggest wins this program has had in a long time.... We gave it our best effort, and we're really proud of that." Maasry added that Penn may have come out anxious in the first half, as they made "small mistakes." Rutgers forward Sherif El Bialy opened the scoring in the ninth minute of play, and fellow midfielder Mats Paajarvi made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute of play. But if the tone of play in the first half was set by a workmanlike Rutgers squad, the tone of the second half was one of sheer craziness and exciting, heart-stopping soccer. "We came out in the second half and we really started wearing them down and connecting passes and playing really well," Maasry said. In the 70th minute, Penn midfielder Robb Jankura cut the Scarlet Knights' lead in half, as he put one past Rutgers goalkeeper Ricky Zinter. He was assisted by midfielder Ross Chanin, whom Fuller praised for a good effort in the freshman's first time playing on the road in his collegiate career. Less than three minutes later, however, Rutgers forward Dennis Ludwig gave his teammates back their two-goal cushion -- a cushion that would not last long. Midfielder Henry Chen has set up many scoring chances with free kicks in the offensive zone for the Quakers this year, and last night he put the ball in the net off of a free kick at the 72:55 mark, making the Rutgers lead 3-2. The game was tied in the 76th minute of play by Maasry, scoring off of a deflection. If Rutgers had no inkling that it was in for a dogfight prior to Maasry's tally, it certainly did after it. With 9:21 left to play, it looked as if Rutgers had finally put the Quakers away, as El Bialy scored his second goal of the night to give the Scarlet Knights a 4-3 lead. Yet, with 2:18 left on the clock, after a scrum in front of the Rutgers net, the ball found its way to the foot of Penn midfielder Louis Lazar, who delivered it to defender William Lee. Lee, standing virtually alone in front of the net, finished the play and tied the score at four. In the extra frame, however, with the total amount of game time logged by these two squads reaching the century mark, Rutgers midfielder Dustin Sheppard put the ball past Penn goalkeeper Jeff Groeber to end the game and earn the Scarlet Knights an extremely tough victory.

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