The Quakers have logged quite a few extra minutes already this young season.
In its fourth overtime contest in just five matches, Penn men’s soccer played Lehigh to a scoreless draw. The Red and Blue have been well prepared for these overtime matches, and as a result, have come away from each with either a win or a draw.
“Our coaching staff definitely stressed fitness coming into the season,” senior defenseman Erumuse Momoh said.
Neither team was able to generate much on offense in the first half, but a hard shot from Lehigh star freshman Michael Tahiru forced a diving save from the Quakers’ senior goalkeeper Scott Forbes. Penn’s lone shot on goal in the first 45 minutes came from sophomore midfielder Joey Bhangdia.
Tahiru put pressure on the Quakers (2-1-2) all evening, controlling the ball in the middle of the field and sending crosses into the box from the left side. On a run late in the first overtime period, Tahiru was tripped up from behind by freshman midfielder Ben Stitz, resulting in a yellow card. Although the foul occurred relatively close to midfield, it looked as if Tahiru could have materialized his effort into a possible scoring chance.
Lehigh (3-3-1) put an emphasis on possession early in the second half, and the Quakers sat back and allowed them to hold the ball in their half of the field. The Mountain Hawks’ control of the ball translated to a few close calls for Penn’s defense, but the Quakers played extremely well in their own penalty area, turning away almost every single cross.
Much like the first half, the offense for the Red and Blue was almost nonexistent in the second half, as the few runs they started towards Lehigh’s goal were snuffed out quickly without giving the Mountain Hawks’ junior keeper Will Smith much trouble. From the end of the first half through deep into the second half, the Quakers went nearly 40 minutes without registering a shot on goal.
Arguably Lehigh’s closest chance of the entire match came off the foot of junior forward Tommy Dokho midway through the second half. Dokho pushed the ball on the ground towards the far post, but Forbes was just able to get a hand on the shot, sending it trickling slowly towards the goal where the Quaker defense was able to clear it away.
In a match that was largely played in the middle third of the field, Lehigh was able to get numerous corner kick opportunities, outpacing the Quakers’ 11-3, but were denied each time.
“For the season so far, that’s a bit of an anomaly,” Momoh said.
Up next for the Red and Blue comes an away match against Marist on Friday. They will be looking to come away with a win without having to play two extra periods once again.
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