In a game they were supposed to win, the Quakers did not disappoint.
In the teams's final nonconference match of the season, Penn women’s soccer defeated Delaware State by a score of 2-0. In reality, it wasn’t as close as the score suggested.
Delaware State (0-16) came into the game having lost all 15 of their contests this year, and the Red and Blue (8-4-1, 2-2 Ivy) quickly took advantage of the hosts' lack of cohesiveness. In the first 10 minutes, the Quakers dominated possession. They got four shots off, forcing two Delaware State saves, and finally got their breakthrough in the 13th minute.
“It was a ball that was played straight in, and I was able to get in front of my defender. I took a touch that split my defender and the left back and slotted the shot far post,” sophomore forward Mia Shenk said.
The rest of the first half followed a similar process, but the Quakers weren’t able to get their second goal. They outshot the Hornets by 11-1 in the first half and earned five corner kicks to Delaware State’s none.
The score was 1-0 at the end of the first half, but it wasn’t that close. The Quakers were controlling the ball in the midfield, playing fast, and securing better chances than their opponents. They just weren’t able to find the net again until the second half.
Though the result of the match was expected, the Red and Blue still gave very encouraging performances, as junior defender McRae Fried scored her first-ever goal.
“We were able to get a free kick in a dangerous position," Fried said. “[Sophomore midfielder Allie] Schachter stepped up and was able to whip in a really dangerous ball with her left foot. Everyone was super diligent about sticking to their runs, making it hard to figure out who was going to go to the ball. I was just in the right place at the right time.”
Fried was able to head the ball in to extend the lead to 2-0, and the lead would stay there until the final buzzer.
Fried’s goal embodies the mentality that the Quakers have adopted. They substitute often, both in matches in which they’re in control and in more competitive games. No matter when their name is called, the Red and Blue are ready.
“Our entire team has bought into the ‘next man up’ motto. It really starts with the team as a whole. Everyone comes out and competes every day,” Fried said. “We really push each other.”
The game was a final tuneup for the Red and Blue, serving as a break of tough Ivy League play. The real tests will come in the next few matches.
Their final three matches are against Yale, Brown, and Princeton. Both Yale and Brown are above Penn in the standings, and the undefeated Bears are in first place. In order to reach the top of the standings, Penn would likely have to win out. The Quakers just might be capable of doing that if they sustain similar performances against stronger competition.