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msoccer-recap-touche

Sophomore defender Alex Touche and the defense has kept Penn soccer in games all season.

Credit: Chase Sutton

In a battle of neighbors, Penn men’s soccer’s defense dominated. Unfortunately for the Quakers, the team’s offense couldn’t capitalize. 

On Tuesday, Penn tied with Temple 0-0 after playing two overtimes. The game marked the Red and Blue’s (2-4-6) seventh time going to overtime this season, and the fifth time Penn has seen its match end in a scoreless draw.

From the opening whistle, the Quakers’ offense applied the pressure. In the first half, they outshot the Owls (4-8-3) five to two, and junior midfielder and captain Brandon Bartel created a great chance for sophomore midfielder Wes Maki in the 13th minute off a corner.

This was followed not much later by perhaps the two best chances for Penn in the half. In the 24th minute, sophomore forward Jake Kohlbrenner fired a fantastic shot on goal that Temple keeper Michael Samnik barely tipped out of bounds. The corner that followed posed another dangerous opportunity, played in by Bartel. Bartel’s kick found the head of senior defender Erumuse Momoh, but the redirect went wide.

“We’ve had a couple strings of results that didn’t really go our way even though we’ve been playing well so I think guys were really fired up and ready to go tonight,” sophomore defender Alex Touche said. “Temple started off slowly and I think we took advantage of that.”

The second half welcomed a fiercer Temple squad, led by its usual offensive threat in junior forward Lukas Fernandes. Neither his shot in the 53rd minute nor Herman Doerner’s in the 57th could get by Penn senior goalkeeper Scott Forbes, though. After the game, Forbes gave credit to his defensive line.

“I have a great team in front of me...I mean I was facing shots from 25, 30 yards out and that’s the kind of distance where I feel comfortable that I can save mostly about every shot,” Forbes said. “A lot of credit has to go to the defense and the players in front of me for keeping the shots far away without really letting in those close range shots that might cause me some problems.”

Forbes continued to make clutch saves in the first overtime, as the Quakers had to survive several promising chances that the Owls’ offence produced. Penn looked stronger in the second half, but wasn’t able to find the back of the net.

“I think this game against Temple gives a lot of momentum going forward because we created  more chances than we have in the last three games combined,” Forbes said. “I thought it was great performance by our forwards even if we didn’t get that goal.”

Looking ahead, the Red and Blue (0-3-1 Ivy) will take on Brown (7-6-0, 1-3-0 Ivy) on Saturday at Rhodes Field in an important conference matchup as Penn seeks its first win in Ancient Eight play.

“I think it’s a really big game for both sides looking at us right now at bottom of the Ivy League, if we win this we’re right back into the contention, at least the middle of the table,” Touche said.

“We’ve had some really long trips recently up to Dartmouth, Columbia, and Yale, so coming back home, it’ll be great to play at Rhodes and hopefully get ourselves a result.”

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