Soccer’s version of the Battle of 33rd Street ended in a stalemate.
After 110 minutes of pushing and pulling from both sides, neither Penn men’s soccer nor Drexel managed a goal in a 0-0 tie.
As one would expect of a neighborhood derby, the competition included spurts of dominance from either side. The Dragons (3-0-1) appeared to take control of the match early on, but it was the Quakers (1-0-1) who came away with eight shots, compared to Drexel’s two, in the first half. Much of that performance came towards the end of the half, when the Red and Blue won a series of corners but failed to apply the finish.
Despite the scoreline, the Quakers were not without their chances. In the 51st minute, freshman midfielder Ben Stitz hit the crossbar, and followed his shot by heading the rebound on right at Drexel goalkeeper Stephen Kopsachilis. Sophomore defender RC Williams found the woodwork a few minutes later.
Senior Scott Forbes finished with four saves in a strong performance in net, including two dramatic stops in the last two minutes of play to salvage the draw.
“When you get to that point, it’s one goal [and] it’s over so you try to do everything you can to give the team the chance to win," Forbes said. "Unfortunately, we didn’t pull it off today, but I mean I think it was a good performance all around.”
Despite his team's inability to finish in front of goal, first-year coach Brian Gill took away several positives from the draw.
“With these games, like a cross-town rivalry like this, there’s a lot of hype and expectation going into [it]," Gill said. "Even though we didn’t score tonight, I think we’re taking steps as a team. The shape of the team is taking place, so we’re starting to see who’s going to do what.
“Scott had to make some pretty important saves for us in the second half of overtime. [midfielder Brandon] Bartel’s just doing a lot of the dirty work which is really important, and I just want to see us continue with our front guys to have the confidence to go and try to score goals against good teams.”
Some of these front guys include freshmen Isaac McGinnis, Anthony Rovito and Ben Stitz, along with sophomores Alex Touche, Joey Bhangdia, Jake Kohlbrenner. Both Touche and Kohlbrenner were named Second-Team All-Ivy last year, combining for four goals. Bhangdia is returning from an injury suffered last year and is already making an impact on the field.
“I thought the young guys really did well today and showed a lot of maturity for them to come in and step up for the team, so I’m excited for the year,” Bartel said.
The Quakers will have only three days to prepare for their next test, a visit to undefeated Big East foe Marquette (2-0) in Milwaukee on Friday.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.