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PRINCETON - It took a while - and was not without a few final, heart-stopping moments - but Penn picked up its first win of the 2012 season via a 3-2 win over Fairleigh Dickinson at the 2012 Princeton Invitational.
Three different players scored for the Red and Blue, and Penn held a 3-0 lead with under seven minutes to play, but it was the overall work of goalkeeper Max Kurtzman which kept Penn ahead throughout the match.
Kurtzman, who entered the weekend ranked second in the country in saves-per-game at 7.0, made 10 saves for the Red and Blue while also adding an assist on Penn's second goal. Of his 10 saves, none were bigger than his last. After FDU had crawled back within one via two goals in a span of 3:37, Kurtzman found a point-blank shot by Nico Wright and corralled it to keep Penn in the lead.
After conceding the first goal in five of six matches to start the season, Penn scored the game's first three - a run started by Stephen Baker's goal in the 7th minute. Baker's 14th career goal was his first of the season, a goal connected on from 22 yards out after Alex Reddy tipped a Jonny Dolezal long pass over the keeper's head. Baker has now scored in 11 career matches - each a Penn win.
Kurtzman made Baker's goal standup through the first half, making six saves in the opening 45 minutes and organizing Penn's defense to clear four FDU corners. In the second half, Kurtzman unleashed a booming goal kick which was met by a charging Duke Lacroix. Penn's speedy forward beat Jacob Lissesk to the ball and tipped the ball over Lissek's head at the top of the box and into the goal for his third goal in as many matches. After Lacroix's goal in the 73rd minute, Penn added what at the time appeared to be serious insurance via a Louis Schott goal. Schott's first career goal came off a set piece, with Reddy sending in a corner from the right side which Schott jumped into and headed off the ground and just under the crossbar.
The Knights countered quickly, Jack McVey banging in a shot off a Penn defender just 52 seconds after Penn took its 3-0 lead. Just over three minutes later, Jan Aubert stepped into a shot from 25 yards out to get FDU within one.
The win keeps the Quakers from extending what had been an 0-6-0 start to the season and prevents Penn from setting a new school record for winless streak to start a season.
Sunday is the next match day for the Quakers, as Penn again heads to Princeton to complete the Princeton Invitational. The Red and Blue will take on Rider at noon.