Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team was behind the 8-ball heading into Friday night's match with George Mason. After all, the Quakers were playing a real match for the first time this season, while the Patriots came to Rhodes Field with an unblemished record and a 13-0 goal advantage on their opponents.
None of that mattered in the end, though, as Penn scored twice in the first half and again in the second to knock off GMU, 3-1.
The Quakers were led by strong midfield play, most notably sophomore Theresa Yankovich who had assists on both first-half goals.
"Theresa really stepped out of the shadows tonight," said head coach Darren Ambrose. "She did not see a lot of minutes last year because she was playing behind Natalie Capuano, but she really controlled the match in a lot of ways tonight. She knows what is expected in her position, and she was up to the challenge.
"The game went the way we hoped it would," he continued. "We knew that it was opening night, and that we would tire. But we came out and played with pride and really seemed to enjoy ourselves out there early. We got a few early goals, and that allowed us to grind it out and withstand George Mason's charge down the stretch."
Penn'sfirst goal came in the 15th minute, when Yankovich played a long ball from the midfield that Michelle Drugan was able to get a foot on just ahead of Patriot goalkeeper Katie Frey. Drugan got around Frey and pushed it into the open goal. It was the senior captain's second collegiate goal.
Just 10 minutes later, Penn doubled its lead. This time, Yankovich fired a cross in from the left side that senior Jessica Fuccello rocketed home with her head. The goal signalled a return to form for Fuccello, who played in just two matches last year due to injury; in her first two seasons, Fuccello scored 20 goals. On Friday night, she showed she is back to being a threat, taking five shots.
George Mason halved Penn's lead early in the second half, when a shot was saved by Penn goalkeeper Caroline Williams but fell to the feet of Theresa DeLuca who easily put it away. However, with the match approaching the hour mark, Kaitlin Campbell sent in a short cross from the right side that Marin McDermott subtly re-directed inside the near corner.
Williams finished the game with two saves and got the win in the Penn goal, while Frey had one stop in taking the loss.
"Caroline is another one who has really blossomed during the preseason," said Ambrose. "Even on their goal, she made a great save on the initial shot."
Penn returns to action Sunday night, hosting La Salle at 7 p.m. on Rhodes Field. The Explorers tied Lehigh Friday night, 0-0, and will come to Rhodes Field with a 4-0-1 overall mark.
Download: Penn01 (GMU).pdf