PHILADELPHIA – Earlier this week, Penn’s men’s soccer team proclaimed that the start of the Ivy League season was akin to starting the season all over again.
Consider the Quakers 1-0.
A Jonny Dolezal goal in the 81’ was the difference maker as Penn (4-6-0) knocked off defending Ivy League champion, Cornell (5-2-2), 1-0 in the Ivy opener for both sides.
Penn’s third clean sheet of 2013 is its first in Ivy play since a 1-0 win over Brown at Rhodes Field in 2010. For goalkeeper Max Polkinhorne, seven saves in his first career Ivy League start were enough for his first career shutout.
Polkinhorne was busy to start the match, making four saves in the first half. He was called upon 0:35 into the game to make his first save, denying Sebastian Scales as he broke in free and looked to score top right corner. Polkinhorne’s left hand had other plans, and Penn avoided a very early deficit. Scales would go on to lead all players in shots, with four – three of which were saved by Polkinhorne.
The Quakers had just one shot on goal in the first half, a shot from Matt Poplawski in the 15’, which Kurtis Teskoski saved. Stephen Baker had a good opportunity for the Red and Blue in the final moments of the opening period, but his shot following a Quaker corner was blocked.
In the second half, Cornell again came out with a good chance early. Again, it was Scales as he earned a corner and sent a ball in which had to be cleared by Penn’s defense. The Red and Blue would earn the next corner of the match, and it led to a quality chance.
Duke Lacroix served the ball in from the right corner, and it found the head of Dolezal. It looked as if the two quad-captains had connected to give the Quakers a lead in the 54’, but Dolezal’s header was booted off the line by a Cornell defender before it could cross the plane.
That sequence was all but replicated in the 81’ as Lacroix served up a corner kick from the right side and Dolezal was first to it with his right foot. The ball went to the far left post, and clanged in for Dolezal’s second career goal.
Polkinhorne was called on twice the rest of the way to preserve the shutout. First he was in perfect position to scoop up a Devin Morgan shot from the right win in the 84’. Next, he had to deny Scales one last time – a save in the 90’. That stop led to one final corner from the Big Red, and Polkinhorne was first to find the ball, hauling it – and a Penn win – in.
The Big Red has now lost consecutive matches for the first time since the 2010 season. For the Quakers, the win is the 64th against Cornell all-time, improving Penn’s record to 64-32-12 against its Ivy rivals from Ithaca.
Penn continues Ivy League play next Saturday at Columbia, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.