OMAHA – If there’s a style of play being developed by the University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team through two weeks of the 2016 season, a few characteristics are coming to the forefront – this Quakers team will play you hard, and they will be ready to play for 110 minutes.
For the third time in four matches to open the 2016 campaign, the Quakers went the full 110 minutes as Penn capped an Omaha road trip with a 2-2 draw against Nebraska-Omaha.
Just four contests into the season, Penn has more ties than any season since 2009 when the Red and Blue finished with three draws over a 17-game slate.
The Red and Blue had two leads in the game, but were forced to ride the play of goalkeeper Etan Mabourakh and the defensive group during overtime to secure the draw. Mabourakh finished with five saves – including two during the overtime periods – to preserve the tie. He made his biggest stop of the game with 1:27 to play in the second overtime, stopping Xavier Gomez from close range and then watching as his defensive group made to blocks in the final 10 seconds of the match.
Matt Poplawski opened the game’s scoring with a penalty kick just before halftime. His goal in the 43rd minute was the second PK converted this season by one of Penn’s tri-captains, joining Alec Neumann’s strike in the season opener against American.
The Mavericks would answer early in the second half when Fazio Alihodzic curled in a free kick from just outside the box in the 54th minute.
Sam Wancowicz would regain the lead for the Quakers in the 62nd minute, following up an Alec Neumann chance with his second goal of the season.
Penn’s lead would vanquish in the 79th minute when Zac Marquess took a Mark Moulton pass and scored to level the contest at 2-2.
From there, Mabourakh and his defense had to come up big as UNO took the game’s final 11 shots and were unable to break through.
The Red and Blue are now 0-1-3 to open 2016. Nebraska-Omaha is 2-1-3.
Penn returns to Rhodes Field on September 17 to take on La Salle at 7:30 p.m.