For most Penn fall teams, the crux of the season is now underway. From conference standings to bragging rights, the Quakers have a lot of motivation to beat fellow Ivy League opponents. Let’s take a look at how the Red and Blue fared this past weekend.
Volleyball (2-10, 0-2 Ivy) played back-to-back games against Princeton (5-5, 2-0) on Friday night, only managing to win one set at the Palestra despite a strong offensive performance from outside hitter Zada Sanger. The freshman finished with a match-high of 15 kills, a service ace, and two digs. Penn started strong by winning the first set against last year’s regular season co-champions, but the Tigers responded fiercely and closed the contest by winning the next three consecutive sets.
Penn then traveled to Princeton on Saturday evening and lost narrowly, this time going the full five-set distance. Sanger topped her performance from the previous night, picking up 19 kills, four digs, and two block assists. Sophomore outside hitter Feyi Ogunlari played a much more prominent role in this match and ended with a 0.250 hitting percentage and seven kills. Princeton dominated early in the contest, winning the first two sets. The Quakers, on the verge of defeat, responded well and pulled through the next two rounds, sending the game to its final set. During a hard-fought last stretch in which the Tigers were forced to utilize two timeouts, Penn’s attacking errors proved costly, and Princeton secured the victory.
Field hockey (3-5, 1-0) picked up a massive home win at Ellen Vagelos Field against Yale (3-5, 0-1) Friday afternoon. The Quakers pulled off a big comeback after initially being down 2-0. Senior captain forward/midfielder Allison Kuzyk scored first for Penn in the third quarter to spark a second-half scoring spree, and junior midfielder/defender Courtney Kenah assisted Kuzyk’s goal from a penalty corner by playing a short pass into space for Kuzyk to smash it home.
The game-tying goal came from senior forward — and co-captain — Lis Zandbergen in a similar scenario halfway through the fourth quarter. Was there a more poetic way to score the winning goal than from yet another penalty corner? That is exactly how Kuzyk brought the result home for Penn in the dying minutes of the match.
Sunday proved more challenging for the Quakers, with a match that went down to the wire, ending in a 4-3 loss to Saint Josephs (8-2-0). The Red and Blue came back from behind three times to level up the scoreboard before the Hawks secured the win by scoring with less than four minutes left in the second overtime. It was in the final minutes of second overtime that Penn finally lost its game of catch up, with St. Joe's sealing the game by netting its fourth and final goal.
The reigning Ivy League champions (2-2-3, 0-0-1) began their conference play with a 1-1 draw against Yale (3-3-1, 0-0-1) at Penn Park. Senior goalkeeper Nick Christoffersen and Penn’s back line did well to keep the Bulldogs out of goal in the first half, with Christoffersen making a big save just four minutes into the contest to deny Yale’s Jake Schaffer from giving the Bulldogs an early lead. The Quakers looked to retain possession and create attacking chances near the end of the first half, but were unable to finish in the box.
The Bulldogs came out of the break firing, with Max Rogers scoring in the 52nd minute after a Yale defender played a ball past Penn's defense. The game then became more scrappy as the Quakers looked to equalize. Junior midfielder Brandon Curran scored the leveler with a powerful aerial header from a left-footed delivery by junior defender Ben Do. But by the time the final whistle blew, neither team found themselves with the lead.
Women’s soccer (4-4-1, 0-1) fell on the road against Columbia (7-1-1, 1-0) on Saturday night. A late own goal by Penn in the 80th minute would be the only score of the night. Senior goalkeeper Laurence Gladu kept Columbia from wildly marking up the scoresheet with multiple savvy saves in the second half. But a late own goal by Penn in the 80th minute proved costly, serving as the only score of the night. Freshman forward Magali Capdevila would later threaten Columbia’s lead with long-range efforts, but they ultimately weren't enough.
Both teams failed to create many clear-cut chances, but the Quakers managed to get six shots on target compared to the Lions’ one. The combination of bad weather, a difficult away atmosphere, and own-goal misfortunes made Penn’s Ivy League opener an unfortunate one.
The Quakers will look to bounce back Wednesday night against Iona at Penn Park before they host Yale Saturday afternoon.
Friday night at Franklin Field, sprint football (1-1) secured a dominant 29-9 win over Cornell (0-2). Freshman running back J.T. Goodman had a standout performance, leading the Quakers with 76 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Although junior quarterback Ty Scherer didn’t record any passing touchdowns, he connected with freshman defensive back Andy Falletta for a 31-yard pass in the second half and did well to control possession late in the game.
On the defensive side, junior linebacker Cam Janock came up with an early fumble recovery to give the Quaker offense excellent field position. Sophomore linebacker Charles Tauckus also made his presence felt, sacking the Big Red's quarterback for a 13-yard loss in the second quarter. Cornerbacks freshman Josh Johnson and junior Jordan Ortiz enjoyed an interception a piece. Cornell’s offense never really got going, marking the fifth consecutive game Penn has held the Big Red to less than ten points.
The Quakers will travel to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army this Friday, marking the midway point of their season.
The weekend saw both the men’s and women’s tennis teams take to the court, with strong showings by each.
The women’s team hosted the Cissy Leary Invitational with its strongest matchup coming against Drexel, winning two-of-three doubles matches, and five-of-six singles matches. The team also dominated against Delware, with freshman Esha Valaga, junior Eileen Wang, and freshman Liza Tkachenko winning their singles matches.
The men’s team travelled to Charlottesville, Va. for the Orange and Blue Classic and took on tournament host (and two-time defending NCAA Champions) UVA, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech. The Quakers started off strong with a 5-2 win over Virginia Tech, followed by a 4-3 loss to UVA on Saturday and another 4-3 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday. The matchup against UVA saw a Quaker reunion with masters transfer student Eduardo Graziani. It was also a family reunion, with Eduardo’s younger brother, sophomore Manfredi Graziani, representing the Quakers and picking up victories in doubles and singles on Friday. A standout performance came from freshman Parashar Bharadwaj, who went undefeated in both his singles and doubles matches against the Hokies and Cavaliers.