PHILADELPHIA - In a match certainly befitting the distinction of taking place in the NCAA Tournament, Penn and Providence battled to a 1-1 draw through two overtimes at Rhodes Field before the Friars had the better of the penalty kicks, 3-1, to advance to the second round.
The Red and Blue may very well have not reached penalty kicks if not for the work of Max Polkinhorne in goal. In his first career NCAA Tournament start, Polkinhorne shook off a goal conceded in the 23’ and held the Friars off the board for over 88’ the rest of the way, making nine saves after allowing the goal and 10 total stops throughout the contest. In the first session of overtime alone, Polkinhorne made four saves to extend the match to a second period of extra time.
In the penalty kick shootout, Polkinhorne was first up in goal and he made a diving stop on Mac Steeves. Duke Lacroix opened the shootout for Penn, and was good on his attempt to give Penn an early lead. The Friars would make their next three PKs, though, taking advantage of a Penn miss and two stops from Keasel Broome to move on to face No. 5 Maryland Sunday in College Park.
Penn struck first 9:02 into the match, finding the back of the net on Alec Neumann’s fifth goal of the season. The freshman was setup by senior Alex Reddy, taking a through pass down the right side and going against the grain back to the far post to give Penn an early lead on its first shot of the match.
The Friars would take four of the next five shots in the match, finally finding the equalizer off the foot of Wilder Arboleda in the 23. Steeves found position deep on the left side, his first attempt at a cross blocked but directing right back to him. The change of direction had Penn’s defense off-guard, and Steeves’ pass to Arboleda needed just a touch to slide into the empty side of the net.
Neither side would score the rest of the way, despite 24 shots from the Friars over the final 88’ of play. In addition, Providence would have a decided edge in corners, 11-3.
Forrest Clancy was dangerously close to ending the match in the final seconds of regulation after Penn forced a turnover in front of the bleachers. His shot on the run sailed just past the far left post and time ran out in the first 90’ of play.
In the opening stanza of overtime, it was all Polkinhorne as he made four saves to extend the match. Two of those saves came off Steeves shots, including a ten-bell point-blank save in the 97’. He added a stop on Julian Gressel in the 100’ for good measure to ensure a second overtime.
Midway through the second overtime, Lacroix had a chance to ice the game, but his look was just wide. In th e107’, Steeves stepped into a shot from the top of the box, but the match’s final shot in run of play was high and neither team threatened the rest of the way.
Penn finishes 2013 with an 8-8-2 record and drops to 9-9-1 overall in NCAA Tournament matches. This was the fourth Penn NCAA Tournament match to reach overtime, Penn is now 2-0-2 in those games, dropping the two penalty kick shootouts. It was the first match which required penalties for the Quakers in NCAA play since 1971 – a 1-1 draw with Penn State.