Men's Soccer 2007 Season in Review

PHILADELPHIA-- The 2007 Penn men’s soccer team loaded its schedule with some of the country’s top teams and proved the Quakers were ready to hang with anyone, even if coming up a goal short in a few outings.

An early highlight for Penn was its trip to California to face No. 7 Cal and Stanford. An early Bear goal in the first game was the deciding factor, despite a strong performance from the Quakers. Against the Cardinal, the Red and Blue conceded two goals off corners in the first, outshot the competition in the second, but were unable to close the gap.

Penn got its first win of the season against Hartwick, defeating the Hawks for the second consecutive year. Juniors Kevin Unger and Alex Grendi made a dangerous duo in the early part of the season, combining on two goals including the first against Hartwick.

Grendi continued to be a playmaker throughout the season, leading the team with seven assists including two game-winners.

The next game started a rash of double-overtime games. The Quakers played through two ties and a last-minute loss in the span of 329:23. After 1-1 ties with La Salle and Lehigh, Penn traveled to in-state foe Penn State. After a scoreless first half, PSU held a one-goal lead with just 10 minutes left to play. With nine minutes to go, senior Keith Vereb lined up for a free kick from just outside the box on the right side. He hit the shot perfectly, bending it around a line of defenders and pushing the match to overtime. A frenzied 20 minutes ensued, and with 37 seconds left between the teams and a tie, a tough shot to the top left corner spelled victory for PSU.

The near-miss spurred the Quakers to a nice three-game winning spree. First, the Red and Blue took out its frustration on City Line foe Saint Joseph’s. The 4-0 drubbing featured a five-point outing from Andrew Ferry who scored two goals and an assist.

Opening the Ivy season, Penn traveled to Columbia for a 3-2 win when last season’s leading scorer, Mike Klein, broke through with two quick goals late in the game for a 3-1 lead including the insurance goal that Penn would need when the Lions made a comeback attempt moments later.

Dipping out of conference play for a rematch with American, Penn avenged last season’s overtime loss to the Eagles with a 2-1 win.

Back in the Ivies, Penn hosted Yale in late October. Newcomer Loukas Tasigianis set the tone early—very early—for Penn when he tapped in a crisp pass from Ferry just 25 seconds into play. The Bulldogs responded later in the period, but the Quakers had the final say when Tasigianis scored his first collegiate game-winner 45 seconds into the second overtime. He had fired two other shots in the overtime that flew barely wide before finding the net and giving Penn the win.

The Quakers played in two one-goal losses to Princeton and No. 15 Harvard, but ended the season on a high note with a home win over Cornell.

The Senior Night game honored senior tri-captains Derek Hobson, Jeffrey Livingston and Keith Vereb. The Big Red scored in the first half, but Hobson was awarded a penalty kick in the second and tied it up. With less than two minutes to play, Grendi sent a free kick into the fray where Livingston redirected it to Omid Shokoufandeh for the game-winner.

For his stellar defending through the 2007 season, Keith Vereb was named second-team All-Ivy. He was joined by the team’s leading scorer, Derek Hobson. Rounding out the Ivy honors for Penn, Tasigianis was named honorable mention All-Ivy.

Though losing the talents of the Class of 2008, Penn returns a hefty 12-man class of rising seniors to lead the Quakers through the 2008 season.