The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

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

This was the scene at Harvard's Ohiri Field after Penn accomplished two things it had never before done - beating Harvard and clinching a share of the Ivy League title. [Jacques-Jean Tiziou/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

BOSTON -- From the sound of the opening whistle on Saturday, it was clear that the Penn women's soccer team was primed to make history in Massachusetts.

At the very beginning of the contest, Penn freshman forward Rachelle Snyder stormed down the sidelines and received a perfectly placed pass. As she charged towards the goal, she was thwarted just enough by the Harvard defense and settled for a corner kick.

The Quakers' offense would never let up.

The Red and Blue continued to pour the pressure on an overmatched Harvard defense and would earn two more corner kicks in the first five minutes of the game.

This early attack set the tone for the rest of the contest, where Penn's relentless offensive assault would lead to a 3-1 trouncing of Harvard.

The win was not only convincing but historical, marking the first time the Red and Blue were able to knock off the Crimson in 11 years. Harvard had defeated Penn, 2-1, the previous three times the two squads had met.

"Honestly, I thought they were going to give us a little more of a fight," Penn senior tri-captain Sarah Campbell said. "It felt like it was a walk in the park.... I wasn't expecting it to be like this at all."

But Saturday's win carried more weight than just shaking the Harvard monkey off the Quakers' backs.

Penn would later find out that Yale handed Princeton a 1-0 loss in a night game, meaning the Quakers earned a share of the Ivy League title -- along with the Tigers and Dartmouth -- for the first time in Penn women's soccer history.

"It was amazing," junior tri-captain Heather Taylor said. "We were very excited on our bus ride home. I could probably not put it into words what we felt."

Before the joyous return to West Philadelphia, Penn's leading scorer and Ivy League Rookie of the Year frontrunner Katy Cross led the onslaught against Harvard.

Cross looked like Pele on Ohiri Field, as she befuddled Crimson defenders all day en route to recording a hat trick.

"Katy Cross is my hero. I was like, 'Katy, can I marry you?'" said senior tri-captain Sabrina Fenton. "Katy does a great job of creating. She's an incredible presence -- we couldn't have done it without her."

The freshman phenom finished the regular season with 12 goals and ten assists. She broke the Penn single-season points record by eight points with her total of 34.

But last weekend's convincing win was a direct result of a team effort, as the Red and Blue dominated play on both ends.

"I think our defense, starting from our forwards and going to our midfield and our back defenders all did a tremendous job," Campbell said.

The less experienced Amy Salomon and Julie Shaner also exemplified the Quakers' team effort by replacing injured senior defender Jen Valentine to hold up the fort against the Harvard attack.

"On defense, Amy and Julie stepped it up in the back for us and were fantastic," Penn coach Darren Ambrose said. "We've said all year that before the end of the year we would need every player in some shape or form and today that just proved that even more."

Despite the overall team contribution, this victory meant more to Penn's veterans than anyone, who have endured some agonizing losses at the hands of the Crimson.

"It was worth the wait," Fenton said. "If I had to trade winning my first year and winning this year at this game, I would definitely take this year."

The Quakers still have history to make, though, as they meet today at 3 p.m. to see whom and where they will play in the NCAA Tournament.

The Red and Blue are looking for their first NCAA Tournament win. Penn received an at-large bid in 1999, but was ousted, 1-0, by James Madison in the first round.

Comments powered by Disqus

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