Penn women's soccer’s first meeting in a decade with rival Villanova went well for the Quakers, winning by a decisive 2-0 margin for their third straight victory over the Wildcats. The Red and Blue also improved their record to 4-1-2 on the season, while staying undefeated at home, and dropped Villanova’s record to 6-2.
The Quakers were able to secure their victory in large part due to the impressive teamwork demonstrated on the field by junior midfielder/forward Sizzy Lawton and sophomore midfielder Lauren Teuschl, who each found the back of the net off of assists from one another.
"We knew going in, Villanova was a really strong opponent," coach Casey Brown said. "They've beaten some good teams. They have some really talented, especially attacking players. So, we knew it was going to be a dogfight. And when you're battling for Philly, it always is; the nosey neighbor that they are. So, we knew it was going to be a dogfight, and again I thought we executed so well and were really clinical in the final third and were able to show our class in that performance and be successful in that win."
Penn’s sophomore goalkeeper Laurence Gladu also played a key part in their success, as she was able to keep the Wildcats’ leading scorer, senior forward Chloe O'Neill, from finding the back of the net. In doing so, Gladu managed to silence the other Villanova powerhouses in what ended up being a shutout performance.
In the first half, Penn started off strong on the attack, taking eight shots in total. In the 32nd minute, those efforts paid off, as the Quakers notched their first goal of the night. What started as a free kick from Teuschl, who was credited with an assist, got rebounded by Lawton, who took the shot for a goal. While the Wildcats also took multiple shots in the first half, Gladu ended up with a save.
In addition to that early save, Gladu made four more saves in the second half, one of which occurred within the first three minutes.
Later, in the 77th minute, the Teuschl and Lawton duo came back to score another goal. This time, they struck out in reverse order, with Lawton earning the assist after a short pass to Teuschl, who scored a goal to increase the Quakers' lead to 2-0. The score marked Teuschl’s third of the season.
Judging by her performance against the Wildcats and her play throughout the season so far, the sophomore midfielder is shaping up to be a breakout star for the Quakers. Speaking of stars, forward Mia Shenk had a much quieter outing against the Wildcats, after scoring Penn's first hat trick in 10 years in Penn's last game, a win over George Washington. The senior finished with one shot, a miss, in just 38 minutes of game action.
The Wildcats continued to take shots on goal in the remaining minutes of the game, but thanks to strong Penn defensive play, spearheaded by Gladu, they were unsuccessful. Even in the last seconds, Villanova took another shot, but it didn’t matter. It was saved, and the Quakers rose victorious.
"I'm from around here, so I know Villanova is a great team," freshman forward Janae Stewart said. "I have some friends on that team, so it was really nice meeting them. It definitely dominated the game. It was a personal game for me at least. It was nice taking the early lead and keeping the score away. It was a really good game."
Now, coming off of a tie and a two-game winning streak, Penn women’s soccer will compete against Rice on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Rhodes Field.
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