On Saturday night at Rhodes Field, the Quakers picked up a 2-1 Ivy League victory against Dartmouth thanks to a thrilling golden goal in double overtime.
Freshmen Leo Burney and Stas Korzeniowski gave Penn (6-3-2, 1-1-1 Ivy) the crucial two goals that put the Quakers on top of the Big Green (1-9-0, 0-3-0).
Penn began the match constantly shifting between defense and attack, as Dartmouth challenged the Quakers on both ends of the field.
In the sixth minute, a big push from the Dartmouth attack was blocked by the Quaker defense, firing on all cylinders. The strong defense throughout the first half opened up great offensive looks from senior Ben Stitz, freshman Charlie Gaffney, and others in the first 20 minutes of the match.
“It was a very physical and direct game. When we could pick up the scraps and break from there, it was working for us. We just needed to be a little more cohesive and connect the first pass,” Burney said.
Dartmouth had two corner opportunities and multiple on-target shots in the first half, although all of the team's attacking attempts were shut down by the Red and Blue.
In the 40th minute, senior Anthony Rovito’s shot rang off the post after a powerful offensive play from the Quakers with help from Korzeniowski, the best opportunity yet for Penn to get on the board.
The Big Green quickly responded to Penn’s sharp offense, although Dartmouth junior George Altirs was unable to get past Nick Christoffersen in the 43rd minute. Both Dartmouth and Penn could not get past the opposing keepers, resulting in a goalless game by halftime.
“It was a pretty scrappy first half. There was a lot of back and forth; I think the weather had an impact on that. The slick surface had a lot of impact on [our play]," Korzeniowski said. "There was aggressiveness and scrappiness on both sides fighting for the ball and trying to move up the field."
Big scoring chances were exchanged by the Quakers and the Big Green in the middle of the second half with Penn controlling the ball for the majority of play. In the 56th minute, Stitz struck the ball at the bottom center of the net, but it was saved.
After a yellow card on Dartmouth senior Jordan Bailon for unsportsmanlike conduct, Burney was inches away from a goal. Penn supporters thought the ball hit the back of the netting, but it went just right of the post.
As the rain picked up in the second half, both teams fought for offensive opportunities. A big attempt all alone and on target for Korzeniowski of the Quakers was saved by the Dartmouth keeper with 20 minutes remaining in the match.
After multiple strike attempts and scrambles, Dartmouth scored late in the game at the 81st minute, as Jordan Ballen found the back of the net to put the Big Green up 1-0.
“You’d think if a team scores that late, we’d get down on ourselves, but we just stuck together, and we always knew we could come back," Burney said. "It was team belief that was there.”
The Quakers responded with a bit of pressure, as they didn’t have much time to respond. Penn had another good look from Korzeniowski with five minutes remaining, but the pass forward didn’t connect and deflected off the Dartmouth keeper.
A corner kick sent the ball to Burney who found the bottom right of the goal in the 85th minute. His first goal of the season with less than five minutes left to go put the Quakers deadlocked at 1-1 with the Big Green.
“It was very meaningful for me because earlier in the game I missed … a really easy opportunity to score … Just to see this one go in was huge for my confidence, and I was just … so happy to help out the team,” Burney said.
Penn finished off the end of regulation with pressure on the attack, but the Red and Blue were unable to connect for a game-winning goal.
With about four minutes left in the first overtime period, Christoffersen made great consecutive saves as Dartmouth looked up the barrel for a goal. Multiple shots and a corner opportunity were gloved off by Christoffersen to help the Red and Blue avoid another goal concession that would give Dartmouth the win. The Penn keeper set a career-best eight saves.
The second half of overtime made it seem that the match would result in a draw until senior Isaac McGinnis connected with Korzeniowski for a game-winning goal in the 104th minute.
“I instinctively made a run towards goal and [my teammate] played me the perfect ball. I shot the ball low and hard on the ground. I knew that on a slick surface, because of the rain, that was the best and the most challenging for the goalie to deal with," Korzeniowski said. "Whenever you score a goal to help the team it feels great ... To get a game-winner, and especially in overtime, and especially in an Ivy League game ... to get our first Ivy League win, there are no words to describe the feelings. It was unreal."
A slow-rolling ball into goal gave Penn its first Ivy League victory as the team took down the Big Green in a 2-1 thriller. The Red and Blue look to extend its winning streak as the Quakers battle Temple at home on Tuesday.
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