What a way to go out.
Penn men's soccer had lost its previous three games heading into Saturday's contest against Harvard in Cambridge, but that losing streak would be emphatically snapped with a 3-0 victory in the season's final game.
The Quakers (4-12-1, 2-4-1 Ivy) held the Crimson (2-10-4, 1-4-2) scoreless in the match and scored all three goals in the second half to secure the victory. Junior Jerel Blades, freshman Alex Touche, and freshman Jake Kohlbrenner finished the goals for the Red and Blue.
"I thought it was our best performance, and we have been building up to this point over the past month or so," coach Rudy Fuller said. "The guys really grew into the games from the start, as each five or ten-minute segment passed, they got stronger and had a better grip on the game."
The win served as the perfect send-off for the seniors, who have been challenged to persevere through a very difficult transition year for the team.
"Everyone associated with the program wanted to send Austin and Sam out on a high note," Fuller said
Everyone, including coach Fuller, has noticed the influence the seniors have had on the development of the younger members of the team.
"The seniors – Sam Wancowicz, Austin Kuhn, Joe Swenson – and even junior Gavin Barger have invested a lot of time in mentoring these freshmen properly," Fuller said. "It was a challenging year from the standpoint of wins and losses. It was a year of transition, and it was a year laying the foundation for the future."
The future certainly seems bright, as the youthful Quakers gained valuable experience throughout the season with multiple freshmen earning starting roles over its course. That experience translated directly to the pitch, as two rookies scored to lead the Quakers on Saturday.
The youthful Quakers have continued to develop together, and, as Fuller explains, the close-knit culture of the locker room is evident from the way the team plays for one another.
"The team has been in a really good place, culture wise and chemistry wise, and I felt like, tonight, they got what they deserved," Fuller said.
"The seniors have set a great example for the program and for the younger guys on the team," Kohlbrenner emphasized.
Although the freshmen have shown flashes of brillance throughout the season, they know there is still work to be done to improve in the offseason.
"I am looking forward to the offseason to improve my strength and conditioning so that I can put my best foot forward next season," Kohlbrenner said.
"There is a number of freshmen who have come along way over the course of this season and have positioned themselves for real growth as we head into the offseason." Fuller said
The Quakers will look to build and improve during the offseason to return more experienced and ready to contend in the Ivy League.
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