PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team has made a habit of starting slowly and finishing fast this season, but they took it to a whole new level Sunday at Rhodes Field.
The youthful Quakers allowed Brown to score just 47 seconds into Sunday's match, and were down 2-0 with 11 minutes to play. However, playing with an increased sense of urgency down the stretch, Penn got a pair of goals from freshman Jessica Fuccello and was able to salvage a 2-2 tie with the Bears.
With the tie, Penn moved to 8-4-3 overall and 1-3-2 in the Ivy League. However, they also officially knocked Brown (9-3-4, 3-1-2 Ivy) out of the conference title chase. That sentiment was obvious afterward, as the Quakers charged the field and many of the Brown players on the field slumped to the ground.
"I am very proud of the team," said head coach Darren Ambrose. "We have started slowly all year, and today was no different. But the way we came back says a lot about the character of this team.
"To be honest, I walk away from this game with mixed emotions," he continued. "Obviously we are pleased to get the result and not a loss, but at the same time we had a number of chances and really could havecome out ofhere with a win."
Indeed, Penn took seven corner kicks to Brown's one, and outshotBears 18-12, forcing goalkeeper Brenna Hogue to make eight saves. At the other end, Cailly Carroll came on at halftime in relief of Sara Rose and had all of Penn's three saves.
Brown got on the board nearly as soon as the opening whistle was blown. The ball quickly got down the field to the front of the Penn goal, and a communication breakdown between the Quakers left Lindsay Cunningham alone in front and she pushed it past Rose's left side into the side corner. It took all of 47 seconds.
Penn held the play for most of the half after that, as Hogue came up with four saves. However, the best chance of the half again came from Brown's Cunningham, who got behind the Quaker defense a second time and sent a shot past Rose that clanged off the far post. At the other end, Mara Fintzi rang the crossbar with a 20-yard effort.
Brown doubled its lead eight minutes into the second half when Jill Mansfield took a long feed from Kathryn Moos and got behind the Penn defense. With Carroll stuck in no-man's land, Mansfield calmly chipped a shot over her head and into the goal.
Penn continued making moves and adding urgency to its play, and as time wound down the moves began paying dividends.
With the clock hitting 10 minutes, Fuccello was able to get behind the Brown defense and pushed a shot past Hogue's right side into the far corner to make it a 2-1 match. Then, with just 1:36 to play, Fuccello again got in alone again thanks to a bal from Megan Boys that was flicked on by Molly Weir. Fuccello was then savvy enough to beat Hogue again to the right, tying things up.
Fuccello now has a team-leading nine goals on the season, the most by a Penn freshman since both Katy Cross (12) and Rachelle Snyder (10) in 2001.Fuccello's goal tally is also tied for seventh on the Quakers' all-time list.
Both teams had one spectacular chance in the extra sessions. In the first one, Fuccello -- who had nine shots including six on goal for the day -- was left all alone with the ball about six yards in front of the Brown goal. Her shot was kicked aside by Hogue however. In the second overtime, Moos made a subtle toe-touch that sprang Mansfield in the Penn box, but Carroll closed in and was able to get there in time to block the effort.
Penn will close out the Ivy League regular season next Saturday at Princeton, Kickoff at Lourie-Love Field is slated for 4 p.m.