Getting the first Ivy League win of the season is always important — and that is exactly what Penn women’s soccer did on Saturday afternoon.
The Quakers beat Cornell, 4-2, in what was one of Penn's best offensive performances of the year.
After dropping their Ivy League opener to Harvard last weekend, the Red and Blue (6-3-1, 1-1 Ivy) made some adjustments to help them to pick up the victory at Rhodes Field.
“The main thing we worked on all week was pushing the ball and winning those 50-50 battles in the air,” freshman midfielder Sizzy Lawton said.
“I think it was less focusing on the opponent and more so going back to what we do best,” senior goalkeeper Kitty Qu said. “We focused a lot on our defensive principles and zoning in on what we needed to improve on from last week.”
This game was different than any other this season in that the temperature finally started to creep down. Lawton, for one, welcomed the weather change and put a positive spin on the cold.
“It is actually easier to play because it is not beating hot, and you can just conserve energy more easily,” Lawton said.
The Quakers got the action started in the 21st minute, as Lawton put a shot past the opposing keeper off an assist from junior defender Katharine Larson. While the rest of the first half was relatively quiet, the second could only be described as a shootout. Cornell (4-4-1, 1-1) came out firing in the second half, scoring 23 seconds into the period to tie the game at one apiece.
In the 47th minute, a foul on senior forward Emma Loving gave the Big Red an opportunity they would not squander. Cornell midfielder Evanthia Spyredes took the penalty kick and put the ball past Qu for a 2-1 lead. But Penn still had plenty of time to recover.
“There was a lot of belief. When they scored those two goals, we knew we were going to get it back,” junior midfielder Breukelen Woodard said. “We had this confidence because we were there for each other.”
This back and forth affair would continue into the 52nd minute. Woodard countered for the Quakers, as a string of passes led her to score the equalizing goal. From there, Penn would not let up. Starting at the 73:45 mark, the Red and Blue scored two goals within a minute, doubling their lead to make the score 4-2.
The fourth goal, scored by sophomore forward Mia Shenk and assisted by Lawton, put the icing on the cake, giving Lawton both a goal and an assist for the game.
“I thought the assist was more crucial,” Lawton said. “I just love seeing across the box, and I just hit the ball and hope [my teammates] knock it in.”
The Quakers understood that they desperately needed a win, and they delivered. They also know how important this victory is moving forward.
“I think we needed this win, and I think it is only going to propel us going forward,” Woodard said. “We learned how to play for each other, and this is just the beginning.”
Next weekend, Penn will travel to New York City to take on another Ivy League foe in Columbia, where the group will look to keep its momentum going. Most importantly, the Quakers are focusing on implementing their team motto moving forward, as explained by Qu.
“One percent better, 100 percent together."