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It was a season that was supposed to be magical, a season in which the Penn women's soccer team would finally break through to the top of the Ivy League. High expectations ran through every one of the Quakers going into the 2000 season. The goal was clear: win the Ivy League and advance to their second straight NCAA Tournament. After a superb 1999 season -- in which only a Harvard overtime goal separated the Quakers from an Ancient Eight ring -- this goal seemed quite attainable. But for the Penn women's soccer team, things did not go quite as planned. After winning two of their first three non-league games to start the campaign, the Quakers played a huge home game against Harvard, a team that the Penn women's soccer program had never beaten. After Penn jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Crimson struck back with two unanswered goals within a minute of each other. It was a momentum-killer and a shot in the leg, as the Quakers were defeated by a 2-1 margin. The Red and Blue would never recover that game. The Crimson not only shattered Penn's nine-game home-field winning streak, but also took command of the race for the Ivy League title. "That game set the tone for the rest of the season," senior midfielder Angela Konstantaras said retrospectively. "We should've won that game -- it was more frustrating than anything." After the loss to Harvard, the Quakers went on a five-game road trip, spanning nearly a month. Away from Rhodes Field, Penn won three out of five, but lost a key league game to Dartmouth. But it was the final game of their road trip that disappointed the Quakers the most. Although they tied Navy 0-0, Penn felt they totally dominated the game and were frustrated they were not able to put the ball in the net. "The Navy game was a point in our season in which frustration levels ran really high," senior co-captain Kelli Toland said. "Playing so well and not being able to pull out a win was really frustrating," Konstantaras added. Penn's inability to put the ball in the net would manifest itself from that point on and would hurt the Quakers for the rest of the season. After the loss to Navy, Penn won two straight against American and Columbia, but would go on to lose five of their last six contests, including Ancient Eight losses to Yale, Brown and Princeton. The Quakers played well defensively, but not being able to score was their tragic flaw. "Not being able to finish was our biggest problem," said Toland, who was slowed by an ankle injury for several games. "Other teams found a way, but we just couldn't find a way to win." The Quakers' 2-5 Ivy League record put them in sixth place, but they still received a bid to the ECAC Tournament. It was there that the Quakers bounced back. The Red and Blue defeated Northeastern and St. John's to win the four-team tournament this past weekend. "By finishing strong, we proved that we could really come together," Toland said. "Things began to click, and it gave people a lot of confidence." One thing is certain -- the 2000 season was a season of ups and downs. Finishing near the bottom of the Ivy League standings was a disappointment, but ending the season with an ECAC championship is very promising. With Penn coach Darren Ambrose adjusted to Ivy League play, and the continued progression of Penn's strong freshman class, the Quakers have every reason to be optimistic. "I definitely see Darren bringing the program to the top," Konstantaras said. "I have faith that they'll win the Ivy League championship."

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