EASTON, Pa. - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team had to feel pretty comfortable after 17 minutes of its match against Lafayette Wednesday night. The Quakers led at that point, 2-0, and given that the Leopards had scored a total of just five goals this season, that lead seemed safe.
Lafayette (2-10-4) doubled its goal output in one night, coming back with five goals to offset four by the Quakers (7-5-3) and steal a 5-4 decision.
"This is a very difficult loss to swallow," said a clearly discouraged Darren Ambrose following the match. "We had things in our control, and then they got a goal and the momentum of the match changed. They seemed to get more confidence as the match went on, and we were unable to stop it. I'll make no bones about it, this was a bad loss for us.
"The hardest part of this loss is that it deals a severe blow to our postseason hopes," he said. "If we win this one and continue on, we finish at 10-4-3. Now we can't get to 10 wins, and we have a loss to a team that had one win prior to the match. That is going to be hard for the committee to ignore in a week and a half."
It looked like smooth sailing to start for Penn, which outshot Lafayette 20-8 on the night. Just seven minutes in, Rachel Fletcher took a cross from Carolyn Cross on the right side and fired it into the goal for a 1-0 lead. Less than 10 minutes later, Nicki White took a ball from Natalie Capuano and put it in to double the Quakers advantage.
Lafayette got one back in the 27th minute when Caroline Tuttle stripped a Penn defender of the ball and took it in uncontested for a score. The Leopards then tied things with 4:46 left in the half when Kelly Koreyva scored amidst a scramble off a corner kick.
Penn regained the lead in the fifth minute of the second half when Cross scored on a pass from Ellen Gregory -- the freshman's second straight match with an assist -- but Lafayette gained its first lead when Jenny Polak scored in the 56th minute and Brittany Downham tallied off another 'Pard corner kick.
Jennifer Price knotted things up at 4-4 when she sent a left-footed shot into the lower right corner, off a pass from Fletcher. However, Lafayette had the last gasp, when Polak got the ball about 25 yards out, turned toward goal and fired a shot that found the back of the net.
Penn had several great opportunities in the match, hitting a few posts and having a few balls cleared by the defense off the line. In all, 11 saves were made by Lafayette's players.
The Quakers are back in action Sunday afternoon, traveling to Brown to take on the Bears in an Ivy League match. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.