PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The Penn women’s soccer team used a pair of goals just 46 seconds apart in the first half to defeat La Salle, 3-0, in an intracity battle at Rhodes Field Friday evening.
A pair of freshmen were the first-half goalscorers as the Quakers pushed past the Explorers to improve to 2-1-1 on the young season. They were aided by sophomore Rachel Fletcher, whose superb first touch set up Penn’s first goal and who later added a tally of her own.
“We are playing better soccer for a longer period of time,” said Penn head coach Darren Ambrose. “We are starting to be a more fit team, and I think that helped us today. We were able to get stronger as the first half wore on, and made the most of our opportunities. It took 20 minutes or so to get going, but once we did we were able to put our mark on the match.”
Indeed, it took nearly 29 minutes for the Quakers to dent the net, but as the possession increasingly went their way it seemed only a matter of time before they would strike. That occured at the 28:55 mark, when a cross from the right side by Nicky White was deftly side-stepped by Fletcher onto the foot of Natalie Capuano. The freshman, who was all alone in front of the La Salle goal, pushed it past the Explorers’ goalkeeper into the far corner.
Before either team had caught its breath, it was 2-0 as a free kick from Tracy Bienenfeld was headed home by Ellen Gregory for her first collegiate goal.
“We are more becoming more efficient in front of the goal,” said Ambrose, noting his team outshot La Salle 10-5 but put eight of those shots on goal and hit three posts. “That is encouraging. We are taking the shots and getting results from them. This week we also said that we need to get more from our set pieces, and today we scored a goal from one.”
The second half saw the Quakers hit the post two more times, but the second time it happened the ball landed at the feet of Fletcher, who was all alone in front. She was able to slip it past La Salle’s onrushing keeper for the third and final tally.
Jessica Keeley collected the shutout for the Quakers, making just two saves and never really being tested.
Penn is back in action Sunday afternoon, hosting ACC foe North Carolina State at 1 p.m. on Rhodes Field.
This article written by Mike Mahoney, Director of Athletic Communications.