A team that used to be best known for its dominance at home has suddenly become something of a road warrior as well. The Penn women's soccer team (5-3, 1-2 Ivy League) had won nine consecutive games at Rhodes Field, spanning from the tail end of the 1998 season to early in the 2000 campaign. But the Quakers now do some of their best work away from that noisy stretch of land nestled between railroad tracks and the Schuylkill Expressway. After dropping their first game of the year at Delaware, 2-0, the Red and Blue have surged to win three of their last four away matches. This includes a pivotal 1-0 victory over Bucknell on Wednesday night, in which Penn responded to a pregame speech by its first-year head coach, Darren Ambrose. "This was a point in our season when we had to decide which direction we were going to go in," Ambrose said of the Bucknell contest's significance. "That was my challenge to the team before the game." And if Wednesday's game was any indication, the Quakers have plenty of life in them. The next test for Penn will take place on Sunday night at 7 p.m., when the Quakers travel to Annapolis, Md., to battle the Midshipmen of Navy. This will wrap up a series of five straight road games that began with a September 20 victory over Stony Brook, by a score of 3-0. Navy has earned at least a share of the last two Patriot League crowns, but it is currently experiencing the symptoms of rebuilding syndrome. The Mids (4-8) sport eight freshmen on their roster this fall. Nonetheless, Navy is 3-2 at home on Dewey Field in 2000, and also boasts a strong midfield to contend with the Quakers, which should make for an interesting matchup. "Traditionally, they're very aggressive, very strong and pretty fast," Penn senior captain Kelli Toland said. Armed with their new 3-5-2 formation, the Red and Blue look to again generate some more scoring opportunities in Sunday's game. And by practicing the finer points of what the strategy entails in sessions today and tomorrow, Penn should have an even better grasp of it than it did earlier in the week. Prior to the game with Bucknell, the Quakers had spent more time going over their new system verbally than physically. The team spent only the better part of a half-hour performing the latter. "I think as games go on, people will get more comfortable in their roles," Toland said, referring to how her teammates will likely adapt to the 3-5-2 set over time. One point of interest to focus on during Sunday's game, aside from how well Penn is able to execute its offensive scheme, will take place in goal. Or, more specifically, in the area out in front of it, where Penn freshman goalkeeper Vanessa Scotto will attempt to ward off shots from Navy freshman striker, and long-time friend, Stacy Finley. Scotto, a native of Pleasanton, Calif., has played alongside or against Finley, a resident of nearby Alamo, Calif., since both were just 9 years old. They've gone head to head many times in the past, but never on the grand stage that Division I college athletics offers. Navy has lost three of its last four decisions, including a 2-1 defeat to Evansville in St. Louis last Sunday in its most recent match. The Mids will also be in action tonight when they host Patriot League rival Lafayette at 7 p.m.Comments powered by Disqus
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