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Katy Cross, seen here against Cornell, fed Devin Sibole for Penn's first goal of the game Saturday. [Will Burhop/DP File Photo]

The Penn women's soccer team's 2-0 win over Columbia last weekend may seem like just another tally in the `W' column.

But most Quakers victories have not come as easy as the final score might indicate, and Saturday was no different.

The Red and Blue (8-1-1, 2-1 Ivy League) dashed out to a 1-0 lead just 45 seconds into the pivotal Ivy League game thanks to Devon Sibole's fourth goal of the season.

Penn hoped this score would tame the Lions (8-3, 1-2), who were ferociously seeking a win on their Homecoming weekend.

But Columbia did not simply roll over.

"I thought the goal might deflate Columbia," Penn coach Darren Ambrose said. "But they came out with so much energy and for 20 minutes put the pressure on us.

"We have a tendency to score early, let down for 20 minutes and then build up again."

In particular, this bad habit came back to haunt Penn in its only loss of the season, a 2-1 heartbreaker to Dartmouth back on Sept. 29. The Quakers scored early, let down the intensity enough to allow the Big Green to tie the game, and were victimized by a penalty shot in overtime.

But, just as the all too common first-half letdown has been like a crack in the foundation threatening to bring down the Quakers this season, Penn's stalwart defense and rock-solid goaltending by Vanessa Scotto have been the reinforcement keeping the Red and Blue standing tall.

Fortunately for Penn, its defensive presence was also no different on Saturday.

"As good as the goal was for us, I got very nervous," Scotto said. "We have a tendency to relax a little bit after a score and I knew we needed to pick it up and play strong."

As usual, Penn did settle down and withstood the onslaught of the Lions, going into halftime with a precarious 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the Quakers continued a more positive trend responsible for much of their success this season. They picked up the intensity in their attack, while stifling the Lions' offense.

Penn defender Heather Issing headed in a corner kick from Katy Cross with just over ten minutes to play to give Penn a 2-0 lead.

The assist by Cross was not only her second of the game, but it entrenched her in the Penn record books. She has now had an assist in an unprecedented five consecutive games.

"It's just fun to watch her play," Ambrose said. "Whenever she gets the ball and is facing an opponent, she's going to make things happen."

Surely, Cross was not the only hero of the day. Yesterday, Sibole was given Rookie of the Week honors for her game-winner against the New Yorkers last weekend.

For Sibole, though, the win was extra special.

"They were playing all out, and not to be mean but we put a damper on their homecoming," Sibole said.

The Quakers will take a break from Ivy League action and look for another victory against Philly foe St. Joe's tomorrow.

"It was probably one of our better performances in the year from start to finish," Ambrose said. "But now we're looking to prepare and take care of business [tomorrow]."

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