MORGANTOWN – The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team stunned West Virginia, Sam Wancowicz heading home is second goal of the match for the golden goal in a 3-2 double overtime win.
For a team that has suffered through multiple late-game losses of its own this season, the win was a refreshing break from last-second heartbreak.
The Red and Blue found themselves trailing early, and behind by a pair 30:00 into the game. But a goal before the break from one of its co-captains provided a spark, and an equalizer before the hour mark had the Quakers right back in the game.
There’s no question that the Red and Blue would not have been able to set up the play for Wancowicz without the efforts of Max Polkinhorne. The senior goalkeeper made seven saves in the game, including six in the second half and overtime periods. He frustrated the Mountaineers throughout the game’s final periods, holding West Virginia at bay despite a 26-5 edge in shots for the Mountaineers after halftime.
Penn’s only shot of overtime was the winning one. A West Virginia foul in front of the Penn bench and about 40 yards from goal gave Penn a free kick. Joe Swenson lined up and served a perfectly-placed ball which found the head of a streaking Wancowicz who connected squarely and beat the goalkeeper for his first career golden goal to set off a wild celebration.
Alec Neumann scored his second goal in two games to start Penn’s rally, putting in his own rebound in the 38th minute. He emerged from a group of players about 20 yards from goal, and despite his first shot being saved, he calmly slid the second chance into the back of the net.
Sam Wancowicz tied the match just before the hour mark, chipping a goal over a charging West Virginia goalkeeper at 59:35. He knocked a cross down with his chest, took one touch, and then lobbed the equalizer over Daniel Davis.
Much like last year’s game, West Virginia scored early. The Mountaineers came back down the field in transition in the seventh minute, and Felix Angerer fired home a low shot off assists from Ivo Cabral and Colin Hester. Moments earlier, the Quakers had taken a shot from a good angle, but it sailed high.
In the 30th minute, the Mountaineers added to their lead when Rushawn Larmond chipped a goal over a sprawling Max Polkinhorne as Polkinhorne was caught in between plays, deciding whether to stay on his line or charge out to a loose ball.
The win is the first time a Penn team has rallied from a two-goal deficit for the win since October 8, 2011 when Penn defeated Columbia, 3-2. In that game, the Quakers trailed, 2-0, 7:15 into the game before a pair of Thomas Brandt goals set the table for a Christian Barreiro winner with 0:44 to play.
The Quakers are home for Senior Night on Saturday, hosting Princeton at 7:30 p.m.