PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team needed a little time to get going Wednesday night at Rhodes Field against Lehigh, but two second-half goals -- one early, one late -- were enough as the Quakers defeated the Mountain Hawks, 2-0.
Penn improved to 8-6-1 on the season and pitched its fourth consecutive shutout; the last time the Quakers did that was in 1999, when they shut out their last five regular-season opponents. Lehigh fell to 8-4-4.
The first half was a fairly mundane affair, as Penn got off just four shots while Lehigh took three. The Quakers' best chance came early, when freshman Kerry Scalora took a shot that seemed ticketed for the goal before it was cleared off the goalline by a Mountain Hawk defender.
The Quakers needed less than eight minutes in the second half to get on the board, however, Scalora took matters into her own hands. She dribbled a ball from just inside midfield and fired a shot from at least 30 yards out. The ball skidded off the wet grass and beat Lehigh goalie Ali Griffin inside the right post. It was Scalora's team-leading fifth goal this season.
That seemed to give Penn a lift, and the Quakers outshot the Mountain Hawks 9-4 in the second half. However, the match was not sealed until the 87th minute, when Theresa Yankovich sent a corner kick in that Ursula Lopez-Palm was able to head back across the goalmouth, off the right post and in. The goal was Lopez-Palm's fourth of the season.
Caroline Williams got the start in goal and had two saves before giving way to Sarah Banks for the final 17 minutes. Banks was forced to make one stop. Once again, Penn's defensive effort -- especially the middle backs, seniors Kaitlin Campbell and Marisa Schoen -- was once again stellar, as Lehigh was limited in its chances all night.
Penn will host Brown in its final home game of 2010 on Saturday at 5 p.m.; the Quakers enter the match in a tie for first place in the Ivy League.