Penn men's soccer coach Rudy Fuller knows things have to get better - and fast.
Just when things were starting to look up this season, his team will now have to regroup tomorrow against Yale if it hopes to remain in contention for the Ivy League title.
The Quakers' recent three-game winning streak, however, was short-lived. A win over American was followed by losses to Dartmouth and Rutgers, both by a 2-0 margin.
Tomorrow's contest against Yale (2-4-4, 0-0-2 Ivy) presents the Quakers (4-6-2, 1-1) with an opportunity to get back in a rhythm.
The Bulldogs are "what we're really looking forward to," junior defender Ryan Porch said. "Yale's a big league game, they're a good team, and we need to win that [game]."
Junior midfielder Alex Grendi said this matchup should favor the Quakers' approach.
"The way Yale plays will fit really well against our formation," Grendi said. "They sit back and they let you play the ball around the back, and that will enable us to connect really well with the midfield."
But it won't be that simple.
The Quakers are now dealing with a host of injuries, most notably to backup forward Tobi Olopade.
The coach briefly discussed the injuries, but he would not elaborate on Olopade's status.
"We had some guys that were sick, we had some guys that were banged up, so we rested them and limited their minutes," Fuller said. "Tobi is injured. He's day-to-day.I'm hoping he's ready [tomorrow]."
Fuller would not elaborate on the nature of Olopade's injury.
The Bulldogs will be especially hungry for a win. Yale played to a pair of draws in its last two contests.
Fuller, who last made the NCAA Tournament in 2002, knows what's at stake as his team heads into the meat of it's Ivy League slate. The team's goal of returning to the NCAA's promised land, which narrowly eluded the Quakers last year when their at-large bid bubble burst, likely hangs in the balance with every corner kick, shot and save.
And the last thing Fuller wants is a repeat of the Quakers' recent performance at Rutgers.
"We've got five Ivy League games left and we control our own destiny," Fuller said. "I think it's going to come down to how we as a team handle adversity."
That may not be true for much longer. Brown, ranked No. 14 nationally, stands at 2-0 in the league. Harvard, ranked No. 7, has a loss to the Bears as the only blemish on its Ivy slate.
And after a rocky non-conference season, Fuller acknowledged that for his team to cement a berth in the NCAA tournament at the end of this season, an Ivy title is an absolute must.
"We need to get our mental approach right," he said. "We need to focus on what matters and make sure we come to play each and every day."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.