Emphatic. That’s the word that best describes Penn men’s soccer's win over Yale on Saturday night.
After a stretch of games marred by defensive mistakes and static offensive play, the Quakers were clinical in a key 4-1 win over the Bulldogs on Rhodes Field.
The Red and Blue (3-9-1, 1-2-1 Ivy) came into the match with two of their key players injured: junior defender Erumuse Momoh and senior midfielder Austin Kuhn. Nevertheless, the squad was more than up to the task and came through against the Bulldogs (4-7-1, 1-2-1), as they moved into a tie for fifth in the Ancient Eight.
The first fifteen minutes of the game saw an offensive outburst from the Quakers — three goals in a span of nine minutes, including a brace from senior midfielder Joe Swenson.
“We came to play in the first half today, and it was a really good rebound from a tough result against Villanova,” Swenson said.
After a few attacks to begin the game, the aggressive Penn side quickly got its reward. Sophomore winger Dami Omitaomu and freshman midfielder Jake Kohlbrenner exchanged the ball in Yale’s box, before Kohlbrenner was taken down by a rash challenge. A penalty was awarded, and Swenson buried it into the top right corner.
Four minutes later, Kohlbrenner was fed a perfectly-timed through ball from Swenson, and he passed it through the Yale keeper’s legs for the 2-0 lead.
Yet again, four minutes later, Swenson would be on the receiving end of a short pass from junior forward Jerel Blades, and he would fire it across the face of the goal to make it 3-0 for the Red and Blue.
“That’s something we’ve been trying to get going since the beginning of the season. You see relationships starting to form and things starting to click more and more as we go throughout the season, and that’s always a good sign,” Swenson said regarding the team’s offensive performance.
Yale would get a goal back, as midfielder Miguel Yuste scored from 35 yards out, connecting with goalkeeper Scott Forbes' clearance on an outrageous first touch that looped over Forbes and into the side of the goal.
To cap it all off, Swenson completed a hat-trick with a near-post finish upon receiving a cross on the ground from Omitaomu.
“Tonight, the guys really came in determined to make key plays. We have to continue to play with confidence and play together as a team. There are no superstars in this group, and in order for us to be successful, we have to have 11 guys playing really well together for 90 minutes. We certainly did that tonight,” coach Rudy Fuller said.
The result is critical for the Quakers, as they head into the final half of their Ivy League campaign. They will play a non-conference match against West Virginia in the middle of this week before they head off to Brown for more Ivy League play on Saturday.
Aggressiveness and assertiveness will be key down the stretch, as the squad looks to replicate this performance.