NEW YORK, N.Y. - No team ever wants to be down by a pair of goals in an Ivy League men's soccer match, but if it is going to happen, you might as well come back from the two-goal deficit. That is exactly what Penn did to host Columbia on Saturday, erasing an early two-goal disadvantage and storming back for a 3-2 win in a match that was hanging in the balance until the final minute.
Head coach Rudy Fuller was able to count on his senior leaders to take charge when the match - and quite possible, Penn's season - hung in the balance. All three goals came from the senior class, with Thomas Brandt scoring twice in the first half and Christian Barreiro netting the game-winner with 44 seconds to play.
In a match that could have went either way, it was Barreiro who took a Duke Lacroix pass in the final minute of play and scored from 15 yards out to snag the win for the Quakers. Lacroix made the entry pass to Barreiro after winning a loose ball after a long kick from Penn's side of the field. After the freshman sent the pass into the box, Barreiro settled and then quickly struck to the right side of the cage for his fourth goal of the season.
Thomas Brandt did the work in the first half for Penn to turn an early Columbia lead into a 2-2 tie at halftime. His first goal came in the 33rd minute on a restart following a Columbia foul. Alex Reddy took the free kick, and sent in a ball off his left foot that found Brandt's head and then the back of the goal for Brandt's first score of 2011. Just over 11 minutes later, Brandt struck again, this time scorching a shot from roughly 25 yards out that evaded the save attempt of Alex Aurrichio and tied the match.
The captain's effort to tie the match equaled a strong start for the Lions who scored twice in the first 7:15 of the match. Reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year Henning Sauerbier had the first goal, collecting his own rebound off a shot that hit crossbar and depositing it for his second of the season. Just 1:02 later, the Lions doubled their lead when Ronnie Shaban headed in a corner kick from Nick Scott, getting to the far post before a Penn defender had a chance to mark him.
Columbia had the edge in shots, 11-8, but Penn had the slight advantage in shots on goal, 6-5. After allowing goals on the first two shots to reach goal, Max Kurtzman settled down and made three saves in the second half for the win. He was just as important on the clearing game, picking off four Columbia corners and initiating Penn's transition with goal kicks.
The Red and Blue improve to 6-4-1 overall this season and are now 1-1-0 inside the Ivy League. Columbia falls to 4-6-1 and is also 1-1-0 inside the Ancient Eight. The three points earned on Saturday moves Penn into a tie for second-most points in the League with the Lions and Dartmouth. The trio trail Cornell and Yale with six points each.
Up next for the Quakers is a trip to Lehigh on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The next Ivy match for the Red and Blue is Oct. 15 against Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m.