PHILADELPHIA - In a back-and-forth affair with plenty of drama, the Penn women's soccer team came back from a late deficit and rallied to defeat Brown, 3-2, in overtime Saturday evening at Rhodes Field.
The news got even better as the night progressed, as Yale beat the team tied with Penn at the top of the standings, Columbia, 2-1. As a result, Penn enters the final weekend alone in first place at 4-1-1, and will play a de facto championship match against the Ivy's new second-place team, 4-2-0 Princeton, Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in New Jersey. A Penn win or a tie will give the Quakers the Ivy title and NCAA Championship bid; a Princeton win will give the crown and bid to the Tigers.
Marin McDermott had a monster game, scoring both of Penn's goals in regulation and then feeding Ursula Lopez-Palm for the overtime winner. Senior Sarah Friedman -- who played her final home game along with classmates Kaitlin Campbell, Kristin Kaiser and Marisa Schoen -- had two assists, pushing her school career record to 30.
Penn got on the board first, in the 22nd minute. Friedman played a short ball to Kerry Scalora, who one-timed a cross from deep in the left corner. McDermott was at the far post and headed the ball back across the goalmouth and inside the far post.
With about 13 minutes left before halftime, Scalora was sprung and got off a shot from the left side that forced Brown keeper Amber Bledsoe to make a diving save. Two minutes after that, Brown (7-5-4, 1-3-2 Ivy) drew level on a corner kick. The ball was played beyond the far post, where it was headed back in front and re-directed into the goal off the head of Diana Ohrt. The goal was the first allowed by Penn in five matches.
Brown nearly went up early in the second half when Marybeth Lesbirel was able to get to a ball outside the goal box before Penn's charging goalkeeper, Caroline Williams. Lesbirel tried to push the ball past Williams, but the junior got a leg on it and the ball went wide before being cleared by Colleen Barry.
It appeared Penn might have the lead just after the hour, when Scalora beautifully finished a feed from the right side. She was whistled for offsides, however. And again, shortly after that Brown scored -- again on a set piece. This time it was a free kick. Charlotte Rizzi played a ball in from the right side, and Gina Walker made Penn pay when she got free and headed it past Williams.
Penn panicked for a bit after that, but then the Quakers settled down and finally drew level with less than 14 minutes to go. Sarah Friedman played a free kick in from up top, and McDermott shook free and flicked a header that went over Brown keeper MC Barrett's head into the goal.
Brown pressed the play and had a few great opportunities down the stretch, but Penn also had their chances. Scalora was left alone in the box for a shot that Barrett stopped, and as regulation neared its conclusion Ursula Lopez-Palm got a beautiful feed into the box from Friedman. It looked like that would be the winner, but Barrett came off her line and made a great save to keep things even to the end of regulation.
Barrett would have no such luck in overtime.
It took exactly 2:01 of extra time for Penn to win. McDermott received a pass from the backline near midfield, turned and fed a speeding Lopez-Palm through the Brown defense. Lopez-Palm took a touch, then pushed it past an onrushing Barrett. The ball wasn't even in the goal before her celebration began.
Brown outshot Penn in the match, 11-10, as Williams made two saves to get the win.