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PHILADELPHIA - Homecoming weekend is always special for an athletics program. Greats of the past return to campus looking to relive their time of the field and get a look at the current crop of Quakers who are carrying on the mantle for that program. On Saturday night at Rhodes Field, Penn men's soccer will participate in all of the pomp and circumstance of Homecoming - honoring legendary teams, bringing alumni together and amping up for a challenging opponent - as the Red and Blue host No. 11 Brown at 7:30 p.m.
After a day spent honoring the 1962, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 2002 teams, Penn will take to the pitch looking to knock off the 11th-ranked Bears who enter the weekend on the heels of a 2-0 win at then-No. 10 Cornell last weekend. The Quakers and Bears have annually engaged in air-tight battles, including a 1-0 loss for Penn in Providence last season decided on a penalty kick in a driving snowstorm. Two years ago, the last time the teams met in Philadelphia, No. 14 Penn stopped No. 13 Brown by a 1-0 score in matchup with national eyes on Rhodes Field.
Penn still possesses the Ivy League's second-ranked offense with 24 goals this season. 17 of those goals have come from three players - Stephen Baker and Travis Cantrell who each have six, and Duke Lacroix with five. They will have a tough task on Saturday, looking to solve the Ancient Eight's most stingy defense. The Bears, led by goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss's goals-against average of 0.48, have conceded a league-low seven goals this season with eight clean sheets. Brown is again near the top of the charts defensively in the nation, Kernan-Schloss sitting third in GAA and the team fourth in shutout percentage (.640) among Division I schools.
Prior to the game, some of Penn's historic teams of the past will gather across campus to commemorate stellar seasons of Penn soccer. Here is some information on the 1962, 1971, 1072, 1973 and 2002 sides.
Penn's second Ivy League championship came via a squad which quickly regrouped from a season-opening loss to rattle of an unbeaten streak of nine matches to close out the season with a share of the Ivy crown. The season opened in Hanover, N.H. on Oct. 6 with a 3-1 loss to Dartmouth. From that point on, the Quakers finished the season on a 7-0-2 run, outscoring opponents, 31-6. Captain Louis Buck was the catalyst, earning first-team All-American and first-team All-Ivy honors. Forward Arno Witt led the team in scoring with eight goals - including a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Columbia. That blanking of the Lions was one of six clean sheets in 1962 for goalkeeper George Ralph - including a 4-0 wins over Princeton and Harvard in Ivy League play.
Penn made its third trip to the NCAA Tournament via its first outright Ivy League title in 1971. The Red and Blue finished 13-2-0 overall, including a 7-0-0 mark inside the Ancient Eight. Firepower was the name of the game for the Quakers outscored opponents, 60-9, over the course of the season. After a 2-1 loss to Navy, Penn rattled off eight consecutive wins before falling in the national tournament to Penn State, 2-1. The Quakers didn't have a win by just one goal, securing three victories by a margin of two and 10 by three or more goals. Senior Bob Watkins had a team-high 10 goals, with Sophomore Larry Houston right behind with nine. Tom Lieberman (8g, 7a), Steve Baumann (6g, 8a) and Stan Startzell (7g, 8a) were potent as both playmakers and strikers. Startzell would earn second-team All-American honors at the end of the season.
Arguably the greatest team in Penn soccer history, the 1972 club went 14-1-1, not suffering a loss until the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. 6-0-1 inside the Ivy League for a second straight outright title, the Quakers were in the midst of a 18-game unbeaten streak inside the League. The season started with a pair of amazing shutout wins - 10-0 over Fairleigh Dickinson and 11-0 over Rutgers. The Quakers would post nine shutouts during the season, including four consecutive from 11/10-11/25. The clean sheets were four of Jim Miller's seven that season, which included 459:55 of consecutive shutout minutes which is third-most all-time by a Penn keeper. Steve Baumann set a program record for assists in a single season with 18, part of a 13-goal, 44-point season. The 44 points still stands today as a single-season Penn record. Penn would go 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament, defeated Drexel, 4-0, in the first round before avenging the previous year's loss to Penn State with a 3-1 win in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Penn was defeated by Howard, 2-0. Two of Penn's defenders, Larry Houston and Bill Straub, earned All-American honors at the conclusion of the season.
Despite missing out on a third consecutive Ivy League title, the 1973 team brought home a 13-3-0 record and a repeat trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Ivy Legaue's most potent offense with 56 goals - including 20 in seven Ivy matches - the Quakers boasted eight All-Ivy performers and two All-Americans in first-teamer Steve Baumann and honorable mention All-American Don Ries. The Red and Blue put the only loss of the Ivy season on eventual champion Brown, 3-1, and posted ten total shutouts during the season. From 10/27-11/28, Penn went 7-1-0 with each win by shutout. Two of those victories came in the NCAA Tournament - a 5-0 win over Temple and a 4-0 victory over Penn State. The season ended at Clemson via a 1-0 loss to the Tigers in the NCAA quarterfinals. Baumann finished his career with an 11-goal, 13-assist season to graduate with 99 career points. Glenn Partridge had 10 goals and four assists, John Borozzi had nine goals and three assists while Richard Fenimore had eight goals to give Penn a formidable four for opposing teams to contend with.
The first Ivy League title of the Rudy Fuller era came via a 12-4-1 record which featured a 5-1-1 mark inside the Ivy League. The Quakers picked up their first-ever Ivy League Player of the Year in goalkeeper Matt Haefner as he set school records for lowest GAA in a season with a minuscule 0.45 and save percentage as he stopped .923 of shots faced. He recorded 10 shutouts over the course of the season, leading Penn to an 11-3 record in one-goal games. The Red and Blue were 4-1-1 in overtime games, including 2-0-1 in Ancient Eight games decided in extra time. Erik Violante added the fourth overtime win for the Quakers in the NCAA Tournament, connecting on a penalty kick in the 93' to defeat Seton Hall in Philadelphia, 1-0. Seven Penn players earned All-Ivy honors, with Haefner adding third-team All-American honors to his collection.