PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team proved to be a resilient bunch in 2011, putting together a record-breaking season despite the loss of arguably its best player, Kerry Scalora, in the sixth game to a season-ending knee injury.
On Friday night at Rhodes Field, the 2012 edition put on its first performance of the season. There was resilience. And there was Kerry Scalora. The result was a 2-1 win over James Madison, Penn's second over JMU in as many years.
The Dukes (2-2-0) scored first Friday night, when Shannon Rano -- sister of Penn junior back Brianna Rano -- rammed home a corner kick from Kelly Kerrigan at the back post. However, just 27 seconds later another Quaker junior, Laura Oliver, responded with a goal of her own -- on her first touch of the match.
In the second half, Scalora collected a corner kick near the top of the box, calmly settled it, then fired a left-footed shot just ahead of a defender's toe. The ball slid into the far post, past goalkeeper Ellen Forrest's left side, and provided Penn with the victory. Scalora ended the night with three shots on goal, while Callan Parra had two efforts.
The Penn defense was its strength a year ago, and this year's group gave indications that might be the case again in 2012. Alex Dayneka, Erin Thayer, Haley Cooper and Rano were solid in front of Sarah Banks, who was relatively untested in any of her five saves. The Quakers are next in action on Sunday, hosting Temple at approximately 8:15 p.m., following the men's match against UNH that will kick off at 6 p.m.