Pity the Lafayette Leopards. After winning the Patriot League men's soccer championship and appearing in the NCAA Tournament two years in a row, the Leopards (1-8) are in the midst of a rather painful rebuilding phase. And it shows. Prior to yesterday's match with Penn (4-4, 0-2 Ivy), four of Lafayette's seven losses were of the 1-0 variety. Despite outplaying the Quakers, all the Leopards took away from Rhodes Field yesterday were pats on the back for a remarkably well-played game and yet another 1-0 loss. While the Quakers displayed a strong effort, their soccer wasn't as crisp as it was in games against Temple and Dartmouth last week. Yet Penn was able to walk away with a win, and all it had to do was the one thing that Lafayette couldn't -- finish. Midfielder Alex Maasry provided that finish for Penn, as he scored the game's lone goal nineteen minutes, 21 seconds into the first half. "We scored a good goal," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "Alex Maasry never gave up on it. The defender tried to play it back to the keeper, and Maas was able to get to it first and push it by the keeper. That's exactly what I would expect an Alex Maasry goal to look like, because he's such a hard-working player." Penn defender Robb Jankura helped set up the score, delivering a crossing pass to Maasry. "It was actually a defensive error," Maasry said. "But, at the same time, we did a good job putting [the defender] under pressure to make that error." After the Quakers took a 1-0 lead, it was all Lafayette. The Leopards pressed Penn hard for the remainder of the first half and the majority of the second half. But despite numerous scoring chances in both halves, the Leopards weren't able to seal the deal. With about 19 minutes left in the first half, Lafayette forward Brad Bertkau had one defender to beat 50 feet from the Penn net. Penn goalkeeper Jeff Groeber, who had 13 saves on the day, dove to his right to deflect the blast. Several of Groeber's saves were the result of his ability to rise above a scrum and come down with a lazily kicked ball. He did just that with 23 minutes left in the game, but was knocked to the ground and fouled as he came down with the ball. The ball came loose and was kicked into the net. While the Leopards raised their arms in the air, the referee immediately waved off the goal. "Two kids just knocked me into the net, and I got knocked into the goal, but I pinned the ball on the line," Groeber said. "The other team just kicked it out of my hands while I was laying on the ground. Thank God the ref saw it and he called it back." Perhaps the best chance Lafayette had to tie the Quakers actually came after time expired at the end of the game. The Leopards were awarded a corner kick with less than 10 seconds left on the clock, but the ballboy was not able to get the ball to the corner before the horn sounded. The referees decided to let Lafayette take the corner anyway. With the scoreboard clock reading all zeroes, the Leopards took the corner. As the Quakers and their fans -- thinking the game was over mere moments before -- looked on in horror, the subsequent shot softly hit the top of the crossbar and rolled down the back of the net, ending the game. "I don't think [the ref should have done that], but at the same time, you've got to concentrate and go after the ball and win it," Groeber said. "I was flooring people and getting nailed to the ground." The Quakers' win was secure, but they were not happy with their overall level of play. "The most important thing is the result, and they found a way to get the win," Fuller said. "We really have to play much better if we want to keep winning.... I don't think our passing was particularly sharp.... It was a poor game for us overall, but we got a result anyway. I think that's a good sign."
News and Notes With 36:01 to play, Penn freshman Ross Chanin collided with Lafayette goalie Craig Schroeder. Schroeder got up quickly and stayed in the game, but Chanin remained on the ground for several minutes. He did not return to the game, and will go for X-rays today.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.