In 2007, Penn women’s soccer made its mark on Ivy League soccer history after winning the conference title outright.
This was only the second time the Red and Blue had claimed the championship, the first being in 2001 in a three-way split with Dartmouth and Princeton.
2007 was Penn’s year and Penn’s year only, as the team went 6-1-0 in League play and 13-4-1 overall. Just one year previously, the Quakers had finished seventh in the league with a record of 1-4-2.
The team’s lone Ivy loss would come at the hands of Brown in a double-overtime away match in Providence, ending the team’s six-game winning streak. That season, the Bears would go on to tie for sixth place among the Ancient Eight.
After the Brown defeat, Penn went on to edge past both Princeton and Harvard in one-goal games before heading to the postseason.
The Red and Blue's season would come to a disappointing end soon after, however, as the team fell to James Madison by a 2-0 score in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
Penn scored nine goals in League play that year and only allowed four. Helping pave the way was then-freshman midfielder Sarah Friedman, who would finish her career as a senior with 30 assists, good for the sixth-most in the Ivy League. Her first year as a collegiate athlete, Friedman was named honorable mention All-Ivy.
Accompanying Friedman in the honorable mention category was junior defender Eileen Larkin.
Sophomore forward Jessica Fuccello was unanimously selected first-team All-Ivy, and was joined by junior midfielder Natalie Capuano. Second-team honors were awarded to sophomore midfielder Jess Rothenheber and sophomore forward Mara Fintzi.
Fuccello also was named Ivy League Player of the Week three times in the 2007 season, the most of any player that year. She led Penn and the conference in goals and points, with 11 and 26, respectively.
It was only fitting then that it was Fuccello who clinched the first outright Ivy League title in Penn history with her game-winning goal against Harvard. While her junior year was sidetracked by a series of injuries, Fuccello again stood out in her final season with the Red and Blue, tying the school record for most goals in a season record with 16. Penn finished third in the Ivy League that year.
Rookie of the Week honors were awarded to defender Kaitlin Campbell and forward Kristin Kaiser, who had three goals on the season.
The 2007 team was coached by Darren Ambrose, assisted by Pete Pososki. 2007 would be Ambrose’s peak in the middle of his career at Penn. Beginning his tenure in 2000 and leaving Penn for Vanderbilt in 2014, Ambrose would see his Quakers team at its best in 2007. Pososki left his position on the women’s team to coach the Penn men in 2011.
Penn’s 2010 team might also have a claim to the title of “greatest Penn women’s soccer team of all time,” with another outright Ivy championship and NCAA appearance. In 2010, however, the Quakers’ Ivy record was 4-1-2, leaving the 2010 team as runner-up.
The success of the 2007 team was nearly matched by the 2018 Penn women’s soccer team. Their conference record of 5-1-1 and an overall 13-2-1 record was one Princeton game away from matching the success from 11 years before. In the last game of the 2018 season, the Quakers’ potential bid for the NCAA tournament was snatched by the Tigers, in a narrow 1-0 loss. Next year, perhaps, history could be made again.
For now, however, the 2007 team stands alone at the top.
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