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Men's Soccer vs Columbia game Credit: Freda Zhao , Freda Zhao

Coming off of a 2-1 defeat against Columbia, Penn men’s soccer (5-5-0) will travel to New Jersey for a nonconference tilt against Rutgers (3-7-1) Tuesday in hopes of getting back on the winning track. Here’s who’s hot — and who’s not — as the Quakers square off with the Scarlet Knights.

Three Up

Duke Lacroix — Penn’s leading scorer with 16 points so far in the season, Lacroix has proven himself to be one of the best offensive weapons in the Ancient Eight. Lacroix scored his sixth goal of the season — Penn’s only tally — against Columbia, and he has shown why he was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year last year. He keeps creating chances throughout every game and is sure to be the focal point of Penn’s offensive efforts on Tuesday night.

Max Polkinhorne — Polkinhorne put up a good fight against the Lions last week, recording another five saves to boost his season total to 51. With Polkinhorne in net, the Quakers currently lead the Ivy League in saves per game, with 5.30. The junior has recorded three clean sheets on the season and is a good bet to add a fourth to his total against Rutgers.

Jason Wright — Rutgers’ freshman forward has been having a great debut season. Wright is the Scarlet Knights’ top scorer, recording five goals and 12 points on 26 shots. He has been praised for his amazing finishing and playmaking capabilities — especially in a difficult Big Ten conference. Given Penn’s recent late-game struggles, the Red and Blue could be victimized by a late Wright strike.

Three Down

The Second Half — The second half of games has not been friendly territory for the Red and Blue. It started against Seattle when — despite the team’s multiple chances — Penn wasn’t able to get goals in to secure a win. Against then-No. 10 Washington, the Huskies were able to score twice in the final minutes. It happened again against Columbia, in a match when Penn had a 1-0 lead over the Lions in the first half, but let two goals pass by within a span of eight minutes in the final 45. The Quakers will need to stay strong and keep the intensity and focus up in the last half of the game against Rutgers if they plan to leave with a victory.

Rutgers’ Recent Struggles- The Scarlet Knights have been having a bad season so far, posting a 3-7-1 record in their first season in the Big Ten. Home-field advantage doesn’t seem to help either, with five of their defeats having occurred at Yurcak Field. The team’s three-game losing streak probably isn’t helping the team’s confidence and intensity as they face Penn for the first time in seven years.

Cards and Fouls — The Quakers have been on the wrong end of a number of referee’s bookings recently. Last week against Columbia, Penn was victimized by cards four times in the second half, the most untimely of which came when senior back Jason deFaria was sent off for a red card in the 85th minute, ending a scoring chance. Even against Cornell, Penn committed 10 fouls compared to the Big Red’s six offenses. The Quakers will need to maintain their mental composure against the Scarlet Knights — especially if it is a close match once again.

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