PHILADELPHIA - In front of the biggest crowd to fill Rhodes Field all season, Penn called upon one of its most clutch performers in overtime of a NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament First Round match with Bucknell, and Christian Barreiro delivered.
The junior scored his fifth goal of the season in the 92nd minute to give Penn a 1-0 win over the Bison to advance in the national tournament for the first time since 2002.
His strike was one any goal scorer to ever take up the game would appreciate - one set up by hard work from his teammates. The play began on the left sideline with a Zach Barnett throw-in. His toss was tipped by senior midfielder Jason Gorskie into the dangerous area just outside the eight. From there, Barreiro got his right boot on the ball and beat Bucknell keeper Marc Hartmann to the low right corner to set off a raucous celebration that included the team congregating in front of the extremely partisan Quaker fan section.
With the win, Penn moves to on to play the second seed in the tournament, Maryland, in College Park Sunday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m.
After a scoreless first half where each team had a modicum of chances - three saves recorded by each keeper - the second half began with a flurry of Penn chances. Barreiro had a shot in the 51st minute that went wide followed by two Loukas Tasigianis offerings - one saved by Hartmann and one narrowly wide, both 40 seconds apart. In the 64th minute, Tasigianis once again shot just wide. The Quakers then drew a pair of corners, but could only muster a Barreiro shot that went high. In the 69th minute, Travis Cantrell came in for a shot that Hartmann saved. In total, Penn outshot Bucknell, 7-2, in the second half and if not for Hartmann, the match may never have reached overtime.
That's not to say Bucknell didn't have chances of its own. After a yellow card was issued to Cantrell following a scrum in the Bison defensive zone, Bucknell mounted a charge. CK Kumah challenged in the 76th minute forcing Ben Berg to make one of his four saves and keep the game clean on both sides.
The extra period was quick, lasting just 1:38 before Barreiro's goal. The overtime win was Penn's fourth of the season, giving the Quakers a 4-1 record. For the Bison, their overtime record finishes at 2-3-2.
Overall, Penn is now 13-5-0 in 2010, just the fourth team in Penn's 106 years of men's soccer to record 13 wins (the 1971 and 1973 teams had 13 and the 1972 club had 14).
Match Notes: Ben Berg recorded his ninth shutout of 2010 ... The blanking of the Bison is just the fourth in Bucknell's last 78 matches dating back to the 2007 season ... Penn is now 9-8 in NCAA Tournament play ... Penn is now 7-3 against schools from Pennsylvania in the NCAA Tournament ... Head coach Rudy Fuller now has 99 career wins as a head coach.