Men's Soccer Battles to School-Record Tying Fifth Draw Against Delaware

Penn-Delaware Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - Tying a school-record mark set in 1985, the University of Pennsylvania men's soccer team battled a Delaware squad receiving votes in the latest NSCAA Top-25 to a 2-2 draw Wednesday night at Rhodes Field. The Red and Blue got goals from Sam Wancowicz and Matt Poplawski.

How it Happened
The Red and Blue (3-1-5) dominated the early portion of the game against the Blue Hens with a new-look lineup, accumulating six shots before Delaware (8-3-1) had even tallied its first. Aramis Kouzine earned the start and was aggressive early, notching two shots, including one on goal, to test the UD goalkeeper in the opening minutes. Play was conducted primarily in the Penn offensive half of the field, and eventually the Quakers got loose as junior Wancowicz found the ball, cut through the box and rocketed a shot to the top-left corner. The ball hit the inside of the post and curled into the back of the net, giving the home squad 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.

Delaware's first shot was an important one however, as Carlos Perales found captain Guillermo Delgado in the box on a breakaway who put the finishing touches on his seventh goal of the season to equalize the match just six minutes later. It would only take Delgado another six minutes to strike again, this time on a feed from Thomas Villardi who found the senior on an island at the head of the offense who chipped the ball right past goalkeeper Etan Mabourakh. Poplawski was able to get a final shot in for Penn before half, but the Quakers would head to the break down 2-1.

Similar to Sunday's game at Cornell, Penn came out firing in the second half and it didn't take long for the Red and Blue to find the equalizer. The home team was knocking on the door with several corner kicks, the last of which was taken by Gavin Barger who placed the ball perfectly on the body of Wancowicz to bounce onto Poplawski and into the goal to tie the game. 

Penn played in familiar territory: a tied game late in the second, and used its experience to formulate several last-second chances for a game-winning goal. The Quakers remained the aggressors throughout, ending the game with a 16-7 shot advantage over the visitors, but as 90 minutes expired, Rudy Fuller and Co. were headed to their seventh overtime match of the fall. 

Neither squad could find much opportunity in the first overtime period, as only one shot was recorded, by Delaware. The final period of the match was hotly contested, as Penn placed four shots total, one on goal, while the Blue Hens were able to draw two of their three total corner kicks. Eventually neither team could break through and both walked away knotted at two. 

Inside the Numbers
The Quakers are now undefeated in their past six contests, accumulating three wins and three draws during that time span.

Wancowicz now owns four goals on the year, second-most on the team behind Alec Neumann's six. Neumann was sidelined for Wednesday's match after accumulating his fifth yellow card of the season against Cornell on Sunday.

Sophomore Barger notched his first assist of the year on the second goal for Penn.

Penn played 10 corner kicks on the night, matching a season-high. The Quakers held the Blue Hens to just three, a season low for UD. Delaware's seven shots were also a season low. 

Mabourakh totaled three saves in the game, facing five shots on goal. 

The Quakers are just the second team this season to record a first-half goal against UD. The first was Hofstra, this past weekend. 

What's Next?
Penn returns to Ivy League play on Saturday, set to host the Columbia Lions (5-2-1, 0-0-1) at Rhodes Field as part of a double-header with the women's soccer team at 7:30 p.m.

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