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Junior midfielder Emily Sands has come through in the clutch many times this season with five game-winning goals.

Credit: Son Nguyen

A strong but scoreless first half, an early goal in the second, and a shutout victory — in other words, just another day at the office for Penn women’s soccer.

The Quakers put on a display of defensive dominance and restricted a potent Columbia offense to only four shots on goal in a 1-0 victory. Once again, junior goalkeeper Kitty Qu delivered a consistent performance and continued to break her own record  — she now has 17 career solo shutouts, a program best she established earlier this season.

During the first half, both the Red and Blue (8-1-1, 2-0-1 Ivy) and the Lions (5-5-1, 2-1-0 Ivy) had a hard time passing through midfield and keeping possession of the ball. Nonetheless, the home team still got a great chance in the 33rd minute, when junior forward Emma Loving infiltrated Columbia’s defensive line and hit a long-distance shot that hammered off the crossbar.

Penn came back stronger in the second half, controlling the ball and pressuring the Lions’ midfield, especially via senior forward Sasha Stephens and junior defender Laura Hamilton.

In the 51st minute, the pressure paid off. A Stephens free kick was nodded towards goal by senior midfielder Allie Trzaska, and the ball found its way to the feet of junior midfielder Emily Sands, who buried it in the top half of the goal. Sands has been a crucial piece of the improved offense this season, leading the team with five goals — each a game winner. Likewise, Trzaska has been a key facilitator for the Quakers, leading the team and the Ivy League with six assists.

After another shutout victory, Penn’s goals against average sits at 0.3, good for third in the country. The Quakers have seven shutouts in nine games, and have not allowed a goal in nearly a month. Penn also takes the lead in the Ivy League with seven points, while Columbia remains second with six.

The Quakers will now go on a three-game road trip, starting in Bethlehem, Pa., where they take on Lehigh (3-8) on Monday.