Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team got a second-half goal from freshman Megan York, and the Quaker defense made it stand up against a potent Villanova offense as the Red and Blue emerged from PPL Park with a 1-0 victory.
Playing in front of a sizable and energetic crowd of 667 at the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union, Penn improved to 3-0-0 to start a season for the first time since 2001. The Quakers are now chasing the standard set by the 1998 squad, which opened the season withseven straightshutouts(six wins, one tie)en route to an 11-5-1 record.
The win was also Penn's second in as many years over Villanova -- not bad, considering the Quakers were 0-11-1 against the Wildcats in the first 12 meetings of this series.
After relatively easy wins over UMBC and Delaware last weekend, the Penn defense was in for a challenge Friday night -- Villanova entered the match unbeaten in six so far this year, at 4-0-2, and the Wildcats were averaging nearly three goals a game.
Yet it was Penn who pressed much of the play in the opening half, however. Although shots were 5-5, it was the Quakers who garnered a majority of the good opportunities, although Red and Blue goalkeeper Sarah Banks -- who began her college career at Villanova -- came up with a standout save early on against herformer club.
York had a trio of golden opportunities slip away in the first half, but it did not take her long to get her goal in the second stanza as she finished a cross from Kathryn Barth amid confusion among the Villanova defense.
Penn made it stand up, specifically Caroline Williams who took over in goal for the second half. Villanova pressed the action as the Quakers visibly wilted on the oversized field, and got 10 shots off in the second half to Penn's six. Williams' finest effort came with about 17 minutes to go; she was screened as a shot came toward her, and at the last second was able to get to the ground to push it to a defender who cleared it.
Credit must be given to the back four -- Adrienne Lerner, Erin Thayer, Colleen Barry and Alex Dayneka -- who were stout in front of Banks and Williams.
While Villanova outshot Penn on the night, 15-11, the Quakers had six corner kicks tothe Wildcats'four.
Penn returns to action on Sunday, hosting Saint Joseph's at 1 p.m. on Rhodes Field. Admission is free to all Penn home soccer games.
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