PHILADELPHIA - For the last several weeks, University of Pennsylvania women's soccer coach Darren Ambrose has been telling anyone who asks that Megan York -- mired in a season-long goal scoring slump -- was due to score, and when she did it would be a big goal.
On Saturday evening, the sophomore delivered on Ambrose's prophecy.
In the fifth minute of overtime against Brown -- amazingly, the sixth time in the last seven meetings that these teams have gone to extra time -- senior Erin Thayer played a long ball into the box. The ball ended up on York's feet about 12 yards away from the goal, and she turned and fired a left-footed shot that found its way inside the far post.
The goal gave the Quakers a 1-0 win over the Bears and touched off a massive celebration. With the win, Penn remains in the hunt for a share of the Ivy League championship. Princeton earned itself a share of the title about an hour after Penn's win, defeating Cornell 5-1 in Ithaca. However, the Quakers (5-1-0 Ivy play) can earn a share with a win over the Tigers (6-0-0) next Saturday in Princeton. That match will kick off at 4 p.m. at Roberts Stadium.
(Dartmouth also figures into the mix. The Big Green, 4-1-0 as of Saturday night, host defending champion Harvard on Sunday before facing Cornell in its season finale next Saturday.)
For York, much of Saturday night's affair was indicative of the entire season. She led all players with five shots in the game, including a couple of sitters that she did well to set up for herself. In regulation, she missed the goal entirely every time, going either high or wide.
That was not the case in the OT.
In a match that was bereft of offensive opportunities -- Penn outshot Brown just 9-6 -- the Quakers' best chance in regulation came early on. A cross from the right side was pushed back across the goal by Kerry Scalora and looked like it was ticketed for the inside of the right post. However, Brown goalkeeper Amber Bledsoe dove to her left and got down enough to snare it.
Later in the half, Bledsoe was called upon to stop Erin Mikolai from about 12 yards out. Those ended up being her only saves in the match. At the other end, Sarah Banks had two stops as Penn posted its second straight shutout and sixth this season.
Prior to Saturday's game, the Penn program paid homage to four seniors who played their final home game on Saturday: Banks, Thayer, Erin Beck, and Alex Dayneka. The quartet has now won 18 Ivy League matches during their career, a program record, and it was their 42nd overall which is the best since the Class of 2003 won 44.
Among many alums in the house for the Homecoming weekend, at halftime the program recognized the 2007 Ivy League championship squad that was in town celebrating its fifth anniversary.
Thanks to York, the opportunity is still there for such a ceremony to take place in the fall of 2017.