PHILADELPHIA - The Penn-Robert Morris women's soccer game started 20 minutes late Wednesday when the Colonialsgot stuck in traffic and arrived late to Rhodes Field.
No worries, though; the match ended right on time.
That's because the referee, as the 72nd minute approached, mercifully blew his whistle and put his hands together above his head to signal the conclusion of the match. In doing so, he put an end to a 6-0 Penn win that was played in conditions the Quakers' head coach, Darren Ambrose, called "the worst I have ever seen." (that's saying something, coming from a Brit)
The rains were torrential. The puddles were deep. The ball skipped along the field during the first half, but continually slogged and stopped in the second-half waters. Yet somehow the Quakers were able to find a way to score three times in the first half, then three more times in the final 10 minutes before the ref called it.
Given the conditions, Penn's historic output -- it was the most goals scored by the Quakers in a match since a 6-4 win over Delaware on Sept. 9, 2001 -- wasa shock.
Amazingly, Robert Morris (5-8-0) nearly got on the board first. Despite literally walking off the bus and stepping out for maybe 15 minutes of warm-up time, it was Daneen Stevenato in the game's first minute who pushed a shot toward the far post that seemed ticketed for goal when Penn keeper Cailly Carroll slipped in the mud. However, Carroll was able to recover and retrieve the ball before it crossed the line.
From there, it was all Penn (7-3-1). The Quakers did not allow another Colonials shot, and took 16 of their own.
Mara Fintzi gave the Quakers all the goals they would need in the sixth minute, slaloming a pair of defenders and then pushing the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Elizabeth Moss for her first collegiate tally. Less than 10 minutes later, Fintzi was the feeder as she set up Rachel Fletcher in front for Penn's second goal. Then, in the 28th minute, Fletcher finished off a nice sequence by heading home a one-time feed from Tracy Bienenfeld on the right side.
As the conditions worsened, Penn only went more on the offensive. Jessica Fuccello came on late in the first half and really held the play in the second stanza. She was rewarded at 61:52 with her first of the day, assisted by Ashley Hull.
Less then four minutes later, Natalie Capuano put her head on a ball from Bienenfeld and knocked it home for a 5-0 lead, and shortly after that Fuccello again finished a play with help from Bienenfeld.
Penn now heads to Dartmouth this weekend, beginning a final stretch that sees the Quakers play four of their last five matches against Ivy League opponents. Kickoff in Hanover, N.H. is set for 2:30 p.m.