In 2007, the Penn women’s soccer team made its mark on Ivy League soccer history.
For the first time in the Ivy League women’s soccer history, Penn won the Championship outright. This was only the second time Penn could put a claim to the title, the first being in 2001 as a three-way split with Dartmouth and Princeton.
2007 was Penn’s year, and Penn’s year only. The team went 6-1-0 in the Ivy league, and 13-4-1 overall. Only the year before, Penn finished seventh in the league with a record of 1-4-2.
The team’s one Ivy loss would come at the hands of Brown in a double-overtime, away match in Providence. The loss ended the team’s six-game winning streak. That season, Brown would tie for sixth place in the Ivy League.
After the Brown obstacle, Penn went on to defeat both Princeton and Harvard in one-goal games.
The Quakers entered the NCAA tournament, but lost to James Madison University 2-0 in the first round.
Penn scored nine goals in Ivy league play that year, while only allowing four. Helping pave the way would be 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.
First-Team All-Ivy selections were the unanimously selected sophomore forward Jessica Fuccello, as well as 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 Ivy League in goals with 11 and points with 26. It was only fitting that it was Fuccello who clinched the first outright Ivy League title in Penn history with her game-winning goal against Harvard. The next year, in 2008, Fuccello suffered a year of injuries. In her senior season, Fuccello again stood out, 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 named 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 Quaker team at its best in 2007. Assistant coach Pete Pososki left his position on the women’s team to coach Penn’s men’s soccer program 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 at second-best.
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 a Princeton-game away from matching the success of the 2007 team. In the last game of the 2018 season, the Quakers’ potential bid for the NCAA tournament was taken by Princeton in a 1-0 loss to the Tigers. Next year perhaps, history could be made again.
For now, however, the 2007 team stands alone at the top.
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