Box Score (PDF)
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PHILADELPHIA - Just when it appeared luck finally had chosen to shine on the Penn men's soccer team in 2012, a familiar story unfolded in the second half of the opening match in the 2012 Ivy League/BIG EAST Challenge as the Quakers let a halftime lead slip away to Villanova, 5-3.
The Quakers overcame another quick reply from the opposition and allowing a penalty kick shortly thereafter, retaking the lead before halftime with a little thanks to the goalpost and a penalty kick goal of their own. The second half was not as kind to the Red and Blue as Villanova connected three times to negate five of Max Kurtzman's career-high ten saves.
The Quakers held their first lead of 2012 on the strength of a Mariano Gonzalez-Guerineau goal in the 29th minute. Gonzalez pounced on the rebound of a Duke Lacroix shot to score his first collegiate goal. The lead was short-lived, however, as Villanova answered 1:47 later on an Aaron Dennis goal. The Wildcats took the lead on a tough-luck penalty kick in the 33rd minute, the first of two goals for Emerson Lawrence on the night.
Instead of losing heart, Penn countered quickly with a goal of its own, Duke Lacroix finding his first goal of 2012 on a pretty strike from deep on the left side which bounced off the right post and in. Lacroix was beyond due for his first tally of the season, finally finding twine on his 20th attempt of the year. Just before halftime, Penn connected on a penalty kick of its own, Travis Cantrell doing the honors after drawing the foul for his third goal of the season.
'Nova answered in the 51st minute via an Oscar Umar header and regained its lead in the 76th minute when Lawrence one-touched in a cross from Ryan Whelan after Whelan leaped over a Penn defender to find open space. Insurance came 3:37 later as Dylan Renna broke in free from 40 yards out and gave the Wildcats a two-goal lead.
The Red and Blue finish the Ivy League/Big East Challenge on Sunday, hoping the road is friendly after the first five matches of the season at home produced zero points. The Quakers will have a tough test awaiting them, heading to the nation's capital and No. 12 Georgetown (1 p.m.)
Match Notes: Kurtzman's 10 saves set a new career high, his previous was eight in his first career start at La Salle on 9/2/11 ... The five goals allowed is the most by Penn since allowing five in a 5-0 loss to Penn State on 9/30/09 ... The eight goals combined in the game is the most in a Penn-involved match since Penn and Rutgers combined for nine (5-4 Rutgers win) on 10/25/00 ... The match with Rutgers is also the last time Penn scored at least three goals and did not win ... Penn's 0-5-0 start matches the 1998 team for the second-most losses to start a season; the most is six in an 0-6-0 start by the 1992 team ... The Quakers have lost five in a row at home, tied for second-longest home losing streak (0-8-0; 9/30/90-9/26-9/26/91)