SAN DIEGO - Penn had two chances in the final two minutes to square a match at San Diego, but a one-touch attempt from Duke Lacroix was a foot wide and a restart chance in the final 46 seconds went by the wayside as the Quakers were downed by the Toreros, 1-0, on the first day of the Courtyard Marriot Classic.
The Quakers controlled the majority of the first half, finishing with a 4-1 edge in shots (part of a 13-6 advantage over the full 90 minutes) but one lapse on the defensive side spelled the final margin.
After the Quakers missed two golden opportunities in the first 30 minutes of play, the Toreros finally maintained pressure in the final 15 minutes of the half, keeping possession in Penn's third for a run of three minutes. The pressure finally connected on Charles Blase's goal in the 37th minute. Blase finished off a cross from Christian Duke at the right post, one-touching it past Kurtzman.
The early moments of the match saw San Diego with two good looks towards goal, but freshman keeper Max Kurtzman made the safe play each time. First, Kurtzman reached highest on a corner in the first minute to punch the ball safely out of the Penn box and begin transition for the Red and Blue. Shortly thereafter, the Toreros intercepted a Penn touch and broke in two-on-one towards goal. Kurtzman and Austin Kinn combined to stop the rush, with Kurtzman sliding to corral the ball before USD's Patrick Wallen could reach it.
Penn's best chance of the opening 20 minutes came off a restart when Christian Barreiro sent a free kick on a laser towards goal that Adam Campbell got a fingertip on - deflecting the ball right off the crossbar and out of play.
12 minutes later, Barreiro sent a pass to Nick Unger that the senior midfielder got a lot of - too much, actually - as the ball once again sailed just high over the net. Strong midfield play set up the rush, as Travis Cantrell stripped a Torero attacker in the middle of the pitch and sent Barreiro on the fly.
Stephen Baker found open space low in the left corner, just before USD's goal, going it alone against the keeper, but the space was too tight and Baker's shot couldn't get over Campbell's head and instead was swallowed up in his midsection. Shortly thereafter - just over two minutes, to be exact, Blase gave USD all the offense it would need.
USD came out with the two best looks of the second half, first putting together six passes in a row in short order to find an open man who took a shot that sailed high to the left side. Then, in the 65th minute, the Toreros sent a ball to the box off a free kick that was deflected towards goal but into the waiting arms of Kurtzman. The save sent Penn in transition and Stephen Baker took a shot from 35 yards out that sailed high.
Penn looked to have created some offense in the 80th minute, with a corner kick from Barreiro leading to multiple looks from 25-yards out. On Travis Cantrell's shot, the ball appeared to have been knocked down by a USD defender's hand, but there was no call and the Toreros eventually cleared.
Baker finished with a game-high six shots - equaling USD's output as a team. Daniel Meade led the Toreros with four shots.
Penn falls to 2-1-0, while San Diego is now 2-2-0. The Quakers complete their trip to San Diego with a match at San Diego State on Sunday at noon PST/3 EST.