The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Behind MVP Jewel Clark, Penn won the Army Tip-Off Classic.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Just minutes after Villanova broke its scoreless tie with the Penn women's soccer team Friday night, a stoppage of play occurred and, for a moment, time seemed to stand still for the Quakers.

The scoreboard clock shined brightly in the dark night sky hovering over Jeffrey Field in State College, Pa., showing that there were just 23 minutes left to play in the first round game of the College Cup.

Senior tri-captain Sarah Campbell came off the field for a substitute, struggling to fight off tears. At the same time, Penn fans -- whose rowdy chants dominated the small crowd gathered -- were eerily silent.

Play would continue, but the Quakers' knack for coming from behind was nowhere to be found.

The Wildcats (13-5-3) would add an insurance goal and defeat the Quakers (13-2-3), 2-0, marking the first-ever NCAA College Cup victory for Villanova and a season-ending loss for Penn.

"We probably only put 10 to 15 quality minutes together, and they pretty much dominated us the rest of the game," sophomore goalkeeper Vanessa Scotto said. "We were very timid and didn't step up like we usually do."

It was clear from the outset that Penn was going to have a tough hill to climb.

Thirty seconds into the contest, Villanova's offense marched right through the normally stalwart Penn defense and got a shot on goal. Moments later, Scotto -- usually flawless in goal -- fumbled the ball and and gave 'Nova a rare second chance.

The first sign of life from the Quakers did not come until almost 15 minutes into the game when sophomore Ayla Gustafson played a high cross into Villanova's box, but no Quakers were there to capitalize.

In fact, the Red and Blue could not direct a shot on goal throughout the entire first half.

Even star freshman Katy Cross, who has seemed to effortlessly outduel her opponents all season, had trouble creating scoring chances.

Still, Penn managed to control the flow of the game toward the end of the first 45 minutes and went into halftime knotted at zero.

With "Let's Go Quakers!" chants at their backs to start the second half, Penn seemed to have found a glimpse of the fire that has ignited them all season.

After one quick shot from Cross, however, Penn's play deteriorated and the Wildcats regained control of the game's flow, which culminated in Laura Johnson's goal at the 26:25 mark of the second half.

The Quakers would make one more spirited attack behind the wizardry of Cross, who juked several Villanova defenders on her way to goal. But Villanova goalie Janel Schillig deflected Cross' shot just enough for it to careem off the post.

"We had the one shot that hit the post, but didn't do that as consistently as we needed to," Penn coach Darren Ambrose said.

Minutes later, Villanova's Candice MacDonald put the nail in the coffin with a goal at the 14:58 mark.

While the Quakers were disappointed with a lackluster finish to the year, they realize that their program's future is bright.

"Obviously we're disappointed, not because we lost... but because that's not the way we played this year," Ambrose said. "Finally, our youth caught up with us.

"I think the future we have was on the field tonight and they grew up a little bit. And that's all part of the process."

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.