PHILADELPHIA – In its final road non-conference match of 2014, the University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team was unable to hold on to an early lead, falling at Rutgers, 4-1.
In the 55th minute, Rutgers (4-7-1) deposited a penalty kick to take the lead. JP Correa took the kick after a foul was called on the Quakers at the deep right edge of the penalty area. Correa’s shot went inside the left post, Polkinhorne guessing the other way.
It looked like Penn (5-6-0) would tie the game in the 66th minute, but a Duke Lacroix chance was saved by Mitchell Wailer. Just moments later, Jason Wright stopped short in the box for Rutgers, and was open for a shot which beat Max Polkinhorne to the right post to give Rutgers a 3-1 lead. The Scarlet Knights would close the scoring with Wright’s second of the game in the 86th minute.
Penn would have a chance to find a final goal in the waning seconds after a yellow card to Rutgers with 0:10 remaining. The Quakers would get three shots off in that span, starting with Forrest Clancy’s free kick. After that was saved, Neumann had a chance and Lacroix’s rebound was saved by a defender right on the line.
Alec Neumann opened the scoring for the Quakers, taking a Duke Lacroix pass in stride and going above the keeper with pace for his career-high sixth goal of the season.
Moments later, Penn nearly doubled its lead with a barrage of shots. Lacroix had a great chance which was blocked away, then Aaron Chen and Sam Wancowicz came up for the ensuing corner kicks and knocked headers off Rutgers defenders who were the only thing between a second strike.
Max Polkinhorne came up big for the Quakers on a free kick situation in the 24th minute, diving high to his left to punch away an Erik Sa free kick from 25 yards out.
Things were different in the 34th minute for Sa, as he connected on a free kick from the same spot to tie the match. This time, he went to the left side, beating Polkinhorne to the middle of the post for the equalizer.
Penn had an early chance, Forrest Clancy sending a ball ahead to Duke Lacroix in the opening minute. Lacroix worked down the left side, looking for a runner. He found one in Louis Schott, but Schott’s quick one-touch sailed wide.
In the 14th minute, Lacroix was alone on the goalkeeper, and dribbled around him tight to the near post. Lacroix tried to get a shot in from close range, but it was saved.
Max Polkinhorne finished with seven saves. Wailer also had seven.
The Quakers are back in Ivy League play on Saturday, taking on No. 22 Dartmouth in Hanover at 7 p.m.