Almost one full calendar year went by between Penn men’s soccer losing Ivy League matches. Almost.
Just one day removed from the one-year anniversary of the team’s loss to Princeton on Nov. 3, 2012 — the last time Penn lost to an Ivy League opponent — the Quakers (6-8-1, 3-1-1 Ivy) came up short in a wild game in Providence, falling to Brown, 2-1, in double overtime.
“We’re obviously very disappointed with the final result because we did more than enough to win the game,” coach Rudy Fuller said. “We got stunned there at the end with the goal that won it for them, but as far as the overall performance, I think it was … probably the best we’ve played all year.”
Brown senior forward Voltaire Escalona put the Bears (6-6-3, 2-1-2) on the board first with a long shot from 20 yards out that found the lower right corner of Penn’s net.
Meanwhile, the Red and Blue struggled on offense in the early going, as only two of the 17 Quakers’ shots taken during the first half were on target — a theme which continued throughout the match.
The Quakers responded in the second half with a flurry of shots and corner kicks, outshooting Brown, 10-1.
And with the offense keeping the ball in the Bears’ end, the Red and Blue finally managed to net the equalizing goal in the 77th minute.
Junior midfielder Duke Lacroix scored his seventh goal of the season off a cross from senior back Jonny Dolezal.
Neither side could score for the rest of regulation, pushing Penn to overtime for the second straight time in Ivy play.
And with the match in overtime, the Quakers had several opportunities to win. However, freshman forward Alec Neumann and junior midfielders Kamar Saint-Louis and Louis Schott all failed to convert on scoring opportunities.
And in the 105th minute, the Bears finally sealed the deal in the second overtime when junior midfielder Daniel Taylor scored from outside the 18-yard box, stunning the Red and Blue.
“Sometimes it’s unlucky. Sometimes it’s a nice shot and you can’t do anything about it, but I think it comes down to just being sharp all game and making sure we’re getting in front of those shots,” Dolezal said.
Penn’s 2-1 defeat takes away its first-place position in the conference, as the Quakers fall into a tie for second place with Princeton, two points behind Harvard.
The Quakers will play the Tigers next Saturday at Rhodes Field in an important match in the tight conference race before heading to Harvard to end the regular season a week later.
“The reality is this: It’s not that complicated at all. We’ve got two games; we win them both, we win the Ivy League … outright,” Fuller said. “Tonight’s result was a difficult one to swallow again because of how we played, but the bottom line is all it did was give away any cushion we had going down the home stretch.”
And with the finish line in sight, Lacroix shares Fuller’s sentiments that Penn is still in full control of its own destiny.
“The next couple of games are going to be tough games [against] Princeton and Harvard,” he said. “And we have to win both of those games to be Ivy champions.”
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