PHILADELPHIA - With a shortened preseason, and a litany of injuries both big and small, Penn women's soccer coach Darren Ambrose knew what he wanted from his side Friday night at Rhodes Field.
"We talked a lot before tonight's game that we needed to manage it," he said. "We are not yet fit to go 90 minutes as a club, so we needed to manage this game when we were still able."
The Quakers did just that, controlling play most of the night to gain a nice, 1-0 win over a Saint Louis University squad that has advanced to the NCAA College Cup second round each of the last two seasons. Friday's match was the season opener for both teams.
Sophomore Jessica Fuccello was Penn's leading scorer a year ago, and picked up right where she left off. The forward finished a corner kick in the 26th minute, after freshman Kaitlin Campbell headed Jess Rothenheber's corner toward goal.
"This was a quality win for us," said Ambrose. "Saint Louis is a good team, and I felt like we were able to hold them in check for the most part. We stopped their athletes and kept them off the board. I'm very happy with this start."
Penn outshot the Billikens, 8-7, although it was Saint Louis which hit the crossbar twice in the second half. The first came with 28 minutes left, and several minutes later a Billiken attempt was parried by Penn goalkeeper Cailly Carroll off the bar before she could recover it without harm.
Carroll finished the match with three saves in gaining the shutout; at the other end, Hannah Koesterer had four stops for Saint Louis.
Penn is back in action Sunday evening, taking on Robert Morris University at Rhodes Field. Please note kickoff for that match has been moved to 5:30 p.m. (it was originally scheduled for 1 p.m.).