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In the Ancient Eight’s first weekend of conference play, both Penn and Cornell will be looking for blood as they try to kick off the Ivy season on the right foot.

The men’s soccer team will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., Saturday to open its conference slate under the lights.

And given the aggressive style of last year’s match, Saturday’s game may end up looking more like American football than “the beautiful game.”

The previous season’s contest — also the Ivy season opener — resulted in two overtimes and 52 fouls, including three red cards, one of which was presented to an in Cornell coach Jaro Zawislan.

Though the battle ended in a 2-2 draw, Penn played a hard-fought game. The Quakers managed to come from behind twice, the second time without captain Lee Rubenstein on the field. By the end of the game, both teams were playing with just ten men.

This year, the game promises to be equally — if not more ­— competitive. Penn (6-2-0) enters the contest after being ranked for the past two weeks — though it fell out of the poll after last weekend’s loss to Adelphi — while Cornell (3-2-3) has yet to lose a game at home.

Overall, however, the Quakers seem to have the advantage offensively, with 16 goals to the Big Red’s ten.

Fitness will also be key for the Red and Blue as they take on a Cornell squad that has allowed 7 out of its 8 goals in the second half. After spending the offseason focused on improving in that area, Penn may well strike hardest after the 45th minute.

Though if last year’s game is any indication, both teams will come out of the match with some bruises.

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