PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a disheartening loss against Loyola earlier in the week, the Penn women's soccer team needed a boost as it headed back into Ivy League play Saturday evening with a 6-1-0 Cornell team coming to Rhodes Field.
On an historic night at Rhodes, the Quakersgottheir liftfrom Carolyn Cross.
Cross -- who had started every match this season but began Saturday's contest on the bench -- came through with two first-half goals, and they stood up as the Quakers earned a rousing, 2-0 victory over the Big Red.
The match was the first half of a doubleheader at Rhodes Field, on a night when the men's and women's teams were utilizing the newly installed floodlights for the first time. The men were slated to play Cornell afterward.
"I think we showed lots of character tonight, and that is especially true of our seniors," said Penn head coach Darren Ambrose. "Carolyn Cross had a tough game down at Loyola midweek, and she could have let coming off the bench get to her, but instead she came on and performed for us and won us the match. I am very proud of the way she handled the situation tonight."
Cross' goals came just 3:38 apart to keep Penn (5-2-2, 1-0-1) unbeaten and unscored upon early in the conference season. Cornell (6-2-0, 1-1-0) only managed 10 shots on the night, while the Quakers had 19 and forced Big Red goalkeepers Taylor Hendren and Katrina Matlin to make nine saves.
Penn held much of the play in the early going, and finally got on the board when Cross received a nice through-pass from Meg Pittman. From about 25 yards out, Cross froze Hendren with a low shot that slid inside the left corner. Mere minutes after that, Cross was sprung again -- this time by Natalie Capuano -- and showed good poise as she deftly arced a shot over an oncoming Hendren and into the goal from about 20 yards out.
That was all the Quakers needed, though they threatened several more times early in the second half before thing settled down.
"This is the first time this season we have played a team that matched up with us in the midfield, 5-v-5," said Ambrose. "But I think that, back to front, we had a great game. We like to run things through our midfield, but that was a little clogged up tonight and we went over their heads a little bit more and had some success."
Jessica Keeley had four saves -- two in each half -- to collect another shutout for the Quakers.
Penn is back in action Tuesday night, hosting Bucknell in a match that will kick off at 7 p.m.
Written by Mike Mahoney, director of athletic communications