Men's Soccer Drops Heartbreaker to Columbia in Double-Overtime

Penn-Columbia Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - After entering double overtime for the eighth time in 10 games this fall, the University of Pennsylvania men's soccer team was unable to stave off the Columbia Lions, as the visitors capitalized on a penalty kick with 14 seconds remaining to steal a 2-1 win at Rhodes Field Saturday night. The loss is Penn's first since Sept. 9 and the first for the Quakers in Ivy League play. 

How it Happened
The Quakers (3-2-5) got off to an aggressive start notching several shots early from Joe Swenson, Alec Neumann, Matt Poplawski and Dami Omitaomu before the Lions were able to fully possess the ball in their offensive half of the field. Much like in Wednesday's game against Delaware however, the first shot for for the visiting team would be an important one, as Amit Shumowitz found Arthur Bosua from midfield into the box, who finished on a stellar bicycle kick that ended up in the back of the net, giving Columbia an early 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. 

Penn was only able to notch one other shot the rest of the first period, from Omitaomu, while the Lions began to find their sync offensively on corner kick opportunities that tested the back line of the Red and Blue. The Quakers were able to hold steady though, entering the break only down 1-0. 

Similar to its past two contests, Penn was able to jump into the second half aggressively, as only five minutes into play senior captains Sam Wancowicz and Neumann connected for the first time this season to equalize the game. Wancowicz found Neumann in a point blank opportunity in the box before the two-time Ivy League Player of the Week capitalized for his conference-leading seventh goal of the year.  

As the game remained knotted at 1-1, the intensity of the contest rocketed for both squads who wanted to leave the pitch with three points in conference play. Columbia was able to maintain possession for a majority of the half, before Neumann and freshman Sam Hefter created offensive opportunities for Penn within the final 10 minutes, none of which came to fruition. 

As the clock dropped to zero's the Quakers prepared for a position they have found themselves in more often than not this year: overtime. Unlike other contests this season however, Penn was unable to ratchet up the offensive pressure in the extra periods, finding itself at the mercy of the Lions' offensive sets. After surviving an onslaught of Columbia shots in the first overtime, the visiting squad would maneuver one final play with time winding down. As the ball bounced around the box, Penn goalkeeper Etan Mabourakh came out to try and collapse on it. Mabourakh fell on top of the ball once before it squirted out, and on the reach to recover it the sophomore committed a foul for touching the ball outside of the box, giving Columbia a penalty kick opportunity with 14 seconds on the clock. Freshman John Denis stepped up to the plate and finished for the Lions to walk away with a 2-1 win on the road. 

Inside the Numbers
After being sidelined in Wednesday's game for recording his fifth yellow card of the season, Neumann picked up right where he left off, notching three shots and adding to his Ivy League-best goal total on the year (7). Neumann now boasts 14 points this season. 

Mabourakh was steady throughout the night for Penn, recording four saves and nixing many other opportunities from Columbia, whether by cutting off a cross in the box or batting away a corner kick. 

Penn remains with three points in Ivy League place, which puts them in fifth-place, behind Columbia, Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth who lead with four points.  

What's Next?
The Red and Blue get the week off before hitting the road to face the Dartmouth Big Green next Saturday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. in Hanover, N.H. live on the Ivy League Digital Network.