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Senior forward Emma Loving and the rest of Penn women's soccer were unable to get the offense going in the team's 1-0 loss to Columbia.

Credit: Son Nguyen

After splitting its first two Ivy League matchups of the year with a loss at Harvard and a win against Cornell, Penn women’s soccer traveled to New York for a Saturday afternoon contest with Columbia.

Despite having built momentum with a resounding attacking performance against the Big Red in which they scored four goals, the Quakers faltered against the Lions, losing 1-0 for their second League defeat of the season. The one-goal margin of victory has become characteristic of matchups between Penn (6-4-1, 1-2 Ivy) and Columbia (8-3-1, 2-1), whose last eight games dating back to 2012 have featured no more than one goal.

Saturday’s meeting was not an especially offensive affair, with the two teams combining for just 10 shots on target. Even so, Columbia was responsible for eight of those 10, and the Red and Blue struggled to create any sustained pressure in the Lions’ defensive third. Their two shots on goal came at opposite ends of the game in the first and 83rd minutes.

Although senior goalkeeper Kitty Qu recorded seven saves, a mark good enough for her second-best of 2019, Columbia needed to find the back of the net just once to put the Red and Blue away. For most of the game, though, Penn was able to keep the hosts off the scoreboard.

In the 23rd minute, Columbia threatened when a through ball found freshman forward Ally Clark, but Qu was alert to the play and averted danger. The game was scoreless going into halftime, but it didn’t take the Lions long after the break to earn their first clear-cut chance of the day. A 51st-minute back-post cross found junior Jordyn Geller in prime scoring position, but Qu did just enough to force Geller to send her shot over the crossbar.

The Quakers’ luck ran out late, though, when Columbia finally managed to break through in the 75th minute. The Lions’ sophomore midfielder Jessica Schildkraut took a free kick near midfield that found no one in the Red and Blue 18-yard box before bouncing to junior midfielder Gracie Wall, whose header beat Qu with what would be the game’s deciding goal.

In response, Penn increased its urgency for the game’s final quarter of an hour. In the 83rd minute, freshman forward Ella Wright got on the end of a cross from junior forward Paige Howard, but she was unable to finish, as freshman goalkeeper Liz Matei made the stop for Columbia.

Mere minutes later, senior forward Emily Sands flicked a long ball from junior midfielder Breukelen Woodard into the path of freshman midfielder Sizzy Lawton. Lawton went down after a tackle from behind, but no foul was called and Columbia held on to secure its second League win of the year.

The Quakers will look to rebound in their return to Rhodes Field on Oct. 19 against Dartmouth. The Big Green, despite already having collected eight wins in 2019, are in search of their first League win of the year after an 0-3 start that included losses to Yale, Princeton, and Ancient Eight-leading Brown.