PHILADELPHIA - The 2011 season concludes for Penn on Saturday in Boston against Harvard (7 p.m.) at Soldiers Field Soccer/Lacrosse Stadium. Penn enters the game with a 7-7-2 record overall and a 2-4-0 mark inside the Ivy League. A win over the Crimson ensures another winning season for the Quakers, and will render Harvard winless inside the Ancient Eight this season as the Crimson have gone 0-5-1 against Ivy foes in 2011 (2-11-3 overall).
The Red and Blue put forth one of their better efforts of the season last time out, coming back on arch enemy Princeton for a 2-1 win on Penn's Senior Day at Rhodes Field. As has been the case too often this season, Penn allowed an early goal, falling behind in the 6'. However, as has quite often followed the early deficit, Penn countered to square the match and give itself a chance for the win.
Two seniors combined to tie the match, with Jake Levin finishing off a Christian Barreiro restart with a well-placed strike from the top of the box. The goal was Levin's second of the year, fourth career goal and his first marker in an Ivy game.
In the second half, a pair of sophomores connected on a beautiful run-of-play goal in the 75' to provide the game-winner. Johnny Dolezal worked a pass up the right flank to Stephen Baker, and Baker finished to the far left post for his fifth of the year.
In the final five minutes of play, sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Kinn made the Baker goal stand up with a pair of crucial saves. The most important stop came with just 13 seconds left, allowing Barreiro to clear the rebound away and time to run out.
Baker returned to action for the first time since suffering an injury at Columbia on Oct. 8, and got right back on the scoresheet. A Baker goal usually is a harbinger of good things to come for the Quakers, as the Red and Blue are 10-0-0 when the sophomore scores over his two seasons. Of his 12 goals, eight have been game-winning goals.
The Red and Blue had pointed to the tilt with Princeton all season as a revenge game for the Ivy title-deciding loss at Princeton last season. Similarly, Harvard put a loss on Penn in 2010 and the players held over from last season are looking to get those three points back from the Crimson this weekend.
Harvard was 2-2-0 after the first four matches of the season, but since that time have been held winless to the tune of a 0-8-3 clip since Sept. 18. The Crimson have scored just seven goals over the winless run, with three coming in a 3-3 draw against Colgate on Nov. 5. In Ivy play, Harvard is 0-2-1 on its home turf, but the three matches have been tight ones. On Oct. 15, a loose-ball goal in the 31' was all Brown needed for a 1-0 win in a match which saw just five combined shots on goal. The next week, Harvard twice had a lead over Princeton, but the Tigers scored in the 71' for a 3-2 win. Against Dartmouth, Harvard tied the match in the 31' but couldn't net the equalizer despite 11 shots over the second half and overtime.
Three players hold the team lead for goals on Harvard with two. Connor McCarthy is one of those players, and he has scored his two goals in consecutive games. Ross Friedman has the lead in assists with five.