For the fourth time this season Penn men's soccer found itself in a 2-1 contest, and for the fourth time this season Penn was the team with one.
The Quakers have kept nearly all of their games close — out of eleven losses, seven were by two goals or fewer — and they continued this trend in an overtime loss to Brown. Penn’s (3-11-1, 1-3-1 Ivy) struggles on the offensive end continued, as they have now been kept under two goals in all but three games this season. Not coincidentally, the Red and Blue are undefeated when they have scored over two goals.
The offensive disappointments can be attributed to the lack of scoring options thus far this season. Of the team’s 14 goals, seven have came from senior Joe Swenson, and nobody else has scored more than two. When Swenson graduates at the end of this year, the team will lose half of its offensive production.
In Saturday’s game against Brown (8-4-2, 2-2-1), the lone goal was scored in the 70th minute by captain Sam Wancowicz as part of a fast-paced second half for the Quakers. Wancowicz's goal was even more impressive given that Brown's Quinn English scored in the closing minutes of the first half, which could have stolen all of the momentum from a less resilient squad.
“I thought our reaction coming out in the second half after falling behind early was better than it has been at other times this season,” said Wancowicz. “It was our positive response that allowed us to come back and send the game to overtime.”
Unfortunately for the Red and Blue, that overtime ended with an all-too-familiar result, as Brown replicated its first half-ending performance, scoring the game winner in the final minute of the first overtime period.
It is now the captains' job to keep the team focused and in good spirits this week, so they can come out sharp on Saturday.
“It’s all about making sure everyone keeps a positive attitude,” explained Wancowicz. “Making practice kind of lighthearted and looking to build on the positives from the Brown loss will help everybody’s morale, which is important because we want to get a win on Saturday.”
Looking ahead, Penn has only two matches remaining — Princeton at home on Saturday and Harvard on the road on November 11. This Saturday’s matchup against Princeton holds extra significance to the seniors, as it is their final home game.
“It would be huge for all the seniors if we can get a good crowd out there,” said captain Sam Wancowicz. “Ending our careers with the home crowd motivating us to get the win would be the ideal way to go out.”
Regardless of the turnout, expect the Quakers to give it their all and hope for a less familiar result.