PHILADELPHIA - Sometimes, great players make great plays and that is the difference between winning and losing. On Friday night at Rhodes Field, the University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team got a superb goal from Kerry Scalora in the 67th minute, and as a result the Quakers were able to hold on and down Columbia, 1-0.
With the win, Penn improves to 7-4-0 overall and is 3-0-0 and atop the Ivy League for at least one night. (Princeton is the only other unbeaten Ivy, and faces Brown tomorrow afternoon.) In addition, the win allowed the Quakers to complete a full cycle of Ivy League home wins -- the last Ancient Eight school to beat Penn here at Rhodes was Columbia, in 2010. Penn is 8-0-1 in its last nine Ivy League matches, 14-2-3 in its last 19 dating back to 2009.
Columbia (5-6-0, 2-1-0) actually held the better of the play through much of Friday's first half; the Lions outshot Penn, 5-3, and forced Quaker goalkeeper Sarah Banks to come up with a pair of diving stops on headers in front.
Although the stats won't back it up, Penn had the run of play in the second half.
Scalora -- the 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year -- put the only goal of the night on the board off a corner kick. That was cleared out of the box by Columbia, but Beck collected the clear, turned and played it to Scalora who was still entering the play after taking the corner. Scalora took a touch toward the middle of the field and unleashed a left-footed blast that beat Columbia goalkeeper Grace Redmon to her left inside the near post.
That was more than enough for the Penn defense, which garnered its second consecutive shutout and fourth this season. Banks ended the night with four saves.
Penn is back in action on Sunday, traveling to Saint Francis (Pa.) for a noon kickoff in its last non-conference match of the 2012 regular season.