Being in a city may limit our exposure to nature, but there will be no shortage of green at Rhodes Field on Saturday night.
With two shutouts in Ivy play so far, the Penn men’s soccer team is looking for another clean sheet against the Big Green in its third Ivy contest.
“We are really focusing on keeping a lot of possession this game, really working the ball around, really stretching their defense out and picking them apart that way,” senior Alex Reddy said. “Making it a little bit less of a foot race, less of an athletic battle and much more of a soccer game.”
While the Quakers (4-6-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) are coming off of a win and a tie in league play, Dartmouth (4-2-4, 0-2) is trying to come back from two close losses after a great out-of-conference display.
“They’ve had a lot of success over the years,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “They have lost two very close, difficult games in the league but they have some quality results in the season so far. They were undefeated coming into the league matches.”
The last time the Red and Blue beat Dartmouth was three years ago when they went 5-2 in league play and beat Cornell and Columbia prior to playing in Hanover. Yet the past two years, the Big Green have gotten out in front early and the Quakers couldn’t recover.
But this year is very different from last year’s 1-6 run through Ivy play — just look at the Quakers’ Ivy record thus far.
“We’ve got to get on our front foot and play aggressively and really try to pin them in their end and put them under some pressure and make them chase,” Fuller said. “But in order to do that we have to be very sharp on the ball.”
“Every year brings a new set of challenges, and I don’t expect this year’s game to be like last year’s game or two years ago,” Reddy added. “We have to expect them to start fast, and we have to be ready to go off the bat. But I think coming into this game with two clean sheets, we are feeling very good about ourselves defensively and how well we will be able to compete.”
Just as the Quakers are a different team than they were last season, the Big Green have also made some changes. Former assistant coach Chad Riley took over for Jeff Cook and is in his inaugural season as head coach. However, the team doesn’t seem to have changed too radically.
“The philosophy seems to be much of the same in terms of their setup and how they play and how they look to attack and how they look to defend,” Fuller said.
With all Ivy games last weekend going into overtime, the league is more competitive than it has been in years past. But the run the Quakers have had so far gives them confidence for a promising future.
“I think we expect a very competitive game like all the Ivy League games,” Reddy said. “We are in a pretty good run right now, and we hope to continue that this weekend.”
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