WASHINGTON, D.C. - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team used another incredibly fast start on Tuesday afternoon and rolled past American University, 4-0, at the Eagles' Reeves Field.
Penn (6-2-1) led 2-0 less than three minutes into the match and 3-0 after less than seven minutes in gaining its second-straight win and sixth in the last eight. American fell to 1-12-1 with the loss.
Coming off a 5-0 win over Cornell on Friday, it marks the first time Penn scored four or more goals in back-to-back games since the first two matches of the 2013 season. That year, the Quakers opened the campaign with 4-0 wins over Saint Peter's and Mount St. Mary's.
Senior Tahirih Nesmith got Penn on the board just 1:36 into the match with her first goal since Sept. 29, 2013 -- her freshman year -- as a corner kick bounced around in front of the AU goal and landed in front of her. Nesmith kneed the ball off the post and in.
Sasha Stephens quickly followed up with a pair of goals. The first, just 47 seconds after Nesmith's tally, came on a rocket shot from outside the box while the second, 4:07 after her first, was off a shot in the box.
Things slowed down after that. In fact, it wasn't until the end of the half that the Quakers threatened again, the freshman Miranda Schwartz turning on a shot outside the box that rang off the crossbar. Just seconds later, the freshman Kelsey Andrews lifted a left-footed volley that looked like it might be ticketed for the upper left corner but was plucked out of the air at the last second by AU goalkeeper Colleen Vivaldi.
Freshman Emma Loving made it 4-0 just before the hour mark, finishing a short cross from classmate Emily Sands for her team-leading fifth goal this season.
After today's match, 16 of Penn's 21 goals this season -- and, in fact, 16 of the last 20 -- have come in the first half. Of those 16, 14 have come in the first 26 minutes of the match.
The big early lead allowed Head Coach Nicole Van Dyke to substitute liberally, as every player who dressed saw field time on Tuesday. All three goalies -- Kitty Qu, Kiera Towell and Carrie Crook -- also played. Qu was not forced to make a save in the opening half, while Towell had four stops and Crook had none as they split the second period.
Penn returns to action on Saturday, hosting Columbia in an important Ivy League match at Rhodes Field, The Quakers and Lions will kick off at 5 p.m. in the first match of a Rhodes doubleheader, as the men host Columbia at 7:30 p.m.