PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team did what it needed to do Saturday night in its Ivy League showdown with Yale. The Quakers got goals from senior Theresa Yankovich and sophomore Kathryn Barth just more than five minutes apart late in the first half, and that was enough to propel the Red and Blue to a 2-0 victory at Rhodes Field.
The victory moved Penn to 4-1-0 in the Ivy League, allowing them to keep pace with Harvard, who remained one point ahead of the Quakers at 4-0-1 with a 2-1 win over Princeton Saturday night. Yale fell to 3-2-0 in the League.
Penn's win was also its seventh straight, a school record, and its 11th shutout which ties the program mark set previously by the Quakers' 1997 squad. Penn also improved to 9-0-0 at home this season -- still allowing only the one goal against Cornell in September -- and extended its home winning streak to 12 dating back to last season.
Penn outshot Yale, 8-1, in the first half, but it was the Bulldogs that had the first great chance of the match when Meredith Speck was able to get behind the Quaker defense and go 1-on-1 with Penn goalkeeper Sarah Banks. Speck's shot from a slight angle was blocked by the onrushing Banks with her feet, and the Penn GK was able to keep the ball close enough that she corraled it before more harm could come.
Penn then got on the board in the 27th minute. Barth got the ball to the endline on the left wing, and sent it across the goalmouth. The ball went past two Penn strikers and Yale defenders and landed at the feet of Yankovich, who settled and struck a left-footed shot inside the near post that Bulldog keeper Elise Wilcox could not push wide.
Mere minutes later it was Barth's turn. Yankovich started the play about 35 yards out, sending a ball wide right to senior Colleen Barry who one-timed a cross to the far post. Barth was waiting, and headed it into the goal just ahead of Wilcox's punch attempt.
That was enough, as it turned out, as Penn outshot Yale 9-5 in the second half and created a few more chances. In particular, senior Marin McDermott was a constant threat on the Yale goal in the second stanza.
Banks made three fairly routine saves in the second half and finished the night with four, while Wilcox had seven. Once again, Penn's defense was led by seniors Barry and Adrienne Lerner, junior Erin Thayer, and sophomore Brianna Rano.
Penn returns to action with its final non-conference match this Wednesday at Lehigh; the Quakers and Mountain Hawks will kick off at 7 p.m. Penn's next Ivy League game will be next Saturday at Brown.