PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team picked up their first win of the season in dramatic fashion, scoring in the 108th minute of a back-and-forth contest against City 6-rival La Salle on Saturday evening. Freshman Sam Hefter tallied the game-winner off a Sam Wancowicz cross from the right flank in double-overtime.
Hefter’s finish to the low far post was well out of reach of Explorer goalkeeper Mike Kirk as the Quakers took the win and halted the visitors current three-game win streak.
The match marked the fourth overtime contest for the Red and Blue this season as they improved to 1-1-3 with the victory while La Salle fell to 5-2-0. The contest also marked a homecoming of sorts for Explorer skipper Rob Irvine who served as an assistant coach under Quaker head coach Rudy Fuller from 2006-14.
Penn held a considerable advantage in the game and outshot their opponents by a 21-7 margin including an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal. An exciting first half featured several chances for both sides, but neither could find the back of the net heading into intermission.
The contest changed considerably in the second stanza as both sides became more physical attacking in the midfield, but a La Salle red card in the 85th minute changed the dynamic of the contest following a scuffle towards the end of regulation.
The Quakers would go on to hold a man-up advantage for nearly 23 minutes in the final moments of regulation and subsequent overtimes before notching the game-winner. The goal marked the first of Hefter’s collegiate career.
Defensively, Penn goalkeeper Etan Mabourakh made three stops in the victory while La Salle’s Kirk tallied 10 saves in the loss.
The Red and Blue returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 20th when they travel to Lehigh for another non-conference matchup. Game time is slated for 8 p.m.