PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team suffered a gutting loss on Saturday night, as Columbia's Natalie Neshat headed home a Caroline Militello corner kick with just 51 seconds left in the first overtime session to give the Lions a 1-0 win at Rhodes Field.
Columbia is suddenly alone in first place in the Ivy League standings, 3-0-0 for the full nine points which puts them two points clear of Harvard. Penn, meanwhile, had its modest two-match win streak snapped and fell to 6-3-1 overall, 1-2-0 in Ivy play.
Both teams had nice chances in the first quarter-hour. Allie Trzaska got open and rocketed a shot from about 30 yards that skimmed off the crossbar. A few minutes later, a Columbia shot skimmed toward Penn goalkeeper Kitty Qu who struggled to corral the slippery ball. She was able to get a hand on the rebound effort, though, enough to push it off the post and away from trouble.
Qu was called upon again near the half-hour mark, diving to her left to push another Lions shot just past the right post.
Those were the best chances through the second half, as well, although Penn outplayed Columbia and outshot the Lions 5-0 in the period.
Neshat's goal ended an overtime period that had been uneventful through the first nine minutes.
Penn ended up outshooting Columbia for the match, 7-6. Qu finished with four saves in the Quakers goal, while Columbia goalie Allison Spencer had one fairly routine stop in the match.
Penn is back at home again on Tuesday, hosting Delaware State in a non-conference match. The Quakers and Hornets will kick off at 7 p.m.