Philadelphia, Pa. Senior John Rhodes came on as a late substitution and scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute as the University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team defeated Lehigh, 2-1, to win the Penn Soccer Classic Sunday at Rhodes Field.
The Quakers (3-0) successfully defended their Classic title, while the Mountain Hawks (2-1) fell for the first time this season.
Penn got on the board quickly in the seventh minute when freshman Mike Klein shot from close range off passes from freshman Kevin Unger and junior Ryan Tracy. Lehigh answered with the equalizer just before halftime when Adam Williamson netted his second goal of the season thanks to a Peter Classi assist.
With both teams playing back and forth late in the game, Head Coach Rudy Fuller made a mass substitution in the 74th minute to swing the momentum. Rhodes, one of those subs, made an instant impact by finding a cross from freshman Alex Grendi and ripping off a laser from the top of the box to give Penn the lead.
“It was a good shot, and a great goal,” Fuller said. “We’re very pleased to come away with three wins in three games. They were all very difficult wins for us.”
Lehigh’s lone goal snapped junior goalkeeper Dan Cepero’s streak of 366:33 of scoreless play dating back to last season. Cepero made five saves against the Mountain Hawks while sophomore Charlie Sales made a single stop for Lehigh. Despite taking the loss, Lehigh outshot Penn 12-7 and held a 5-2 advantage on corner kicks.
In the afternoon’s first game, Temple got its first win of the season in dramatic fashion over Villanova. The Owls (1-4) led for much of the second half before Wildcats’ (1-3) senior Charlie Rowan equalized with 1:24 left in the game. However, Temple charged back and drew a penalty kick 39 seconds later, which senior Tony Donatelli converted for the win.
Penn will take week off before heading south to play South Carolina in the adidas/South Carolina Gamecock Classic on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
-Written by Tim Flynn, athletic communications assistant