Senior midfielder Alex Roesner rounded the back of the net as time ticked off the game clock, looking for a teammate. Then he found junior attackman Adam Goldner.
Goldner collected Roesner's feed and tactfully maneuvered around the goalie, setting up an opportunity for his fourth goal of the day and the game-winning shot. Leading the Quakers in scoring coming into the contest, the junior attacker was no stranger to the spotlight.
Before the ball even left his stick, the Penn bench erupted in cheers, seemingly knowing the outcome of the shot prior to it reaching the back of the net.
The shot finally found its place at home in the goal and the Penn sideline exploded. With just 17.9 seconds left on the clock, Goldner put the No. 17 Quakers up 16-15 to defeat an Ivy League rival in No. 5 Cornell.
“They were preparing to get into a little bit of an invert zone. So Adam found a gap in it and stepped to it and Alex found him,” coach Mike Murphy said.
The Quakers' win in Ithaca, N.Y. is their second straight Ivy League win and fourth in a row overall. Despite the narrow victory, the Red and Blue (4-3, 2-0 Ivy) played from behind for much of the contest. Just five minutes into the second quarter, Penn was down 7-2, and it looked like the Big Red would run away with the game in front of their home crowd.
With a deficit as large as four in the second half, Penn clawed its way back into the contest through brute force, using its powerful offense to keep its chances alive.
“We weren’t playing all that great early on either side of the field. But, we knew we could score,” Murphy said. “We just talked about keeping our composure and keep playing. Guys adapted and especially the seniors stepped up.”
In the last 10:13 of the game, the Big Red fell victim to a 6-2 run from the visiting Quakers, who used five goal scorers in the process to repeatedly blow past Cornell's defense and snatch the victory.
Cornell (5-3, 0-2 Ivy) came into the game off an 18-3 rout of Saint Bonaventure, but Saturday's result will take away any momentum the Big Red tried to carry into the weekend. Their loss to Penn puts Cornell's early Ivy League title hopes in jeopardy, marking the home side's second Ancient Eight loss of the year in as many contests.
“They have historically been the best team in the Ivy League. They have won more Ivy championships than anybody. So, those first two wins over those traditional powers gives us a little bit of confidence,” Murphy said.
The Red and Blue continued their recent offensive surge up in Ithaca. In their two Ivy League contests so far, the Quakers have averaged 17.5 goals, a noticeable increase from their non-conference goals per game mark of 11.8.
Goldner, who put the Quakers ahead in the game's final seconds, now has 25 goals on the season. He has scored nine goals through Penn's two League encounters so far, truly making his mark felt on the team.
“[Goldner has] gotten stronger and faster and his stick has improved in terms of his shooting ability and how quickly he gets the ball out of his stick,” Murphy said. “We have the ball more because we’re winning more face-offs and stuff so there’s a lot that contributes to [Goldner’s season so far].”
The Red and Blue will look to capitalize on their hot start in Ivy play when they return to Franklin Field next Saturday to take on defending national champion Yale.