For the Penn women's soccer team, this season began with the highest of hopes. Aspirations of a second consecutive NCAA berth loomed large, and the goal of winning its first-ever Ivy League crown trickled into the thoughts of every Quaker. But after a tough weekend in Connecticut, it looks as if these dreams will not turn into reality. A 4-2 defeat at the hands of Yale in New Haven, Conn., on Saturday gave the Quakers their second straight road loss and sent them reeling into the bottom-half of the Ancient Eight standings. With the loss, Penn (7-5-1, 2-3) dropped to sixth place in the Ivy League, ahead of only cellar-dwellers Cornell and Columbia, two teams that it has already beaten. With only two league games left -- against Brown and Princeton -- it looks as if the Quakers will fail to capture their first league crown. The Red and Blue, perhaps realizing that their postseason hopes dwindled with the loss, were extremely frustrated with their performance. "As a whole, we didn't start playing our game until the last 15, 20 minutes," senior midfielder Angela Konstantaras said. "We can't do that against good teams -- we have to play a solid 90 minutes, which is what we've been struggling with all season." Konstantaras, however, was a spark-plug for the Quakers, netting a goal in the first half to even the score at one goal apiece by halftime. Taking a pass from freshman midfielder Heather Issing, Konstantaras chipped it over the goalkeeper and into the net, recording her second goal of the season. In the second half, Issing continued to show her offensive prowess, scoring a goal off an assist from junior forward Sabrina Fenton. However, those two goals would not be enough for the Quakers. Yale's attack was simply more dominant. Led by three forwards -- an unconventional alignment -- the Elis netted four goals on 18 shots off Penn sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Hunt. "There was definitely a breakdown in our defense," Konstantaras said. "Yale played a long-ball game, and with three defenders, we played a zonal defense. And when the defense stepped out of their zone, we gave them some chances." But the defense, which gave up two more goals than they had in any previous contest this season, has been a force for the Red and Blue all year. The Quakers know that they can't point any fingers. "We had some problems clearing the ball, but the defense wasn't that bad," Issing said. "They had a really strong attack and we had only three defenders." There's no doubt the the Elis played a superior game in New Haven. Still, the Red and Blue were hampered by a host of injuries. Penn senior co-captain and midfielder Kelli Toland made the start on Saturday, but her playing time was limited by a recurring stress reaction in her right ankle. Senior midfielder Aidan Viggiano has a similar story, starting but having to leave later on with a shin contusion. Co-captain Ashley Kjar and Heidi Nichols played the majority of the game but were also slowed by injuries. This loss is certainly a setback for coach Darren Ambrose's squad, but the Quakers still have plenty to play for. "We take great pride in playing for Penn," Konstantaras said. "The next four games we have to go out and play the best we ever have in order to avoid ending the season on a sour note."Comments powered by Disqus
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