PHILADELPHIA – Tuesday’s match between Penn and Saint Joseph’s was everything a contest between Philadelphia schools is supposed to be.
It was gritty. It was hotly contested. It was dramatic.
In the end, a Philly native played the hero for the Quakers (4-4-0) as Alec Neumann headed in the golden goal for the Red and Blue in the 103rd minute to secure a 2-1 double overtime win for the hosts.
The win clinched the 2014 Philadelphia Soccer Six championship for the Quakers who won both of their official PS6 contests this season. The city crown marks the ninth time Penn has won the PS6 and the sixth under head coach Rudy Fuller.
Neumann played a role in both goals for Penn, extending his scoring streak to a career-best four matches. His 27th minute assist of Duke Lacroix’s goal also helped Lacroix extend his own point-scoring streak to a career best five matches.
The winner for Penn came early in the second overtime and was the final piece of a well-worked play from one sideline to another and then back again. Forrest Clancy and Luka Martinovic patiently evaded SJU defenders along the near sideline and flushed a ball across the pitch to Kamar Saint-Louis who then again changed the field with a long ball back to Martinovic. The freshman defender settled himself and then looped a cross to the penalty area. With defenders marking Lacroix, Neumann slipped open at the back right post and headed the ball inside the left pipe for the winner.
The Quakers would not have had the chance to celebrate if not for a clutch Max Polkinhorne save early in the second extra period. Immediately off the whistle, Saint Joseph’s pressured and Mark Colville found himself free from 25 yards out. He hip-high ball was screened, forcing Polkinhorne to dive to his left to extend the match.
The Hawks, as their storied mantra suggests, did not relent in the second half despite a 1-0 deficit after one half. Just over three minutes into the second period, Emmanuel Temeh scored on a bicycle kick from a Tim Lazorko pass to level the match. Just moments later, the Hawks earned a corner kick and Sam Irvin was all alone at the far post. Luckily for Penn, his shot from the doorstep sailed high.
In the 80th minute, Neumann almost had a chance to sneak the game-winner in regulation with two chances in a matter of seconds. His first chance was blocked by a sliding defender and his header off the ensuing corner sailed just high.
The final chance of regulation came from Saint Joseph’s, but Jake Nelson’s 87th-minute header from a dangerous range went wide.
Duke Lacroix started the scoring for Penn in the 27th minute, registering his fifth goal of the season. It was a case of “right place, right time” for Lacroix as he simply had to tap in the rebound of Alec Neumann’s shot. Saint Joseph’s goalkeeper Bobby Edwards made a nice save to deny Neumann following a perfect pass forward from Matt Poplawski, but the rebound went right to the foot of Lacroix for the opening marker.
The Quakers, defending Ivy League champions, open Ivy play on Saturday with a trip to Cornell. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.