PHILADELPHIA - Penn showed that they are certainly out to re-claim the Ivy League title again this year, grabbing a 2-0 victory against Harvard Saturday night at Rhodes Field in the conference opener for both teams.
Penn (4-3-1, 1-0-0) got a goal from freshman Marin McDermott in the first half, and another from sophomore Kristin Kaiser in the second stanza. That was all they needed, as the defense was stellar in front of goalkeeper Sara Rose who did not need to make a save in the contest. It was Penn's second straight shutout.
The win was Penn's first at home against Harvard since the program became a varsity in 1991.
"It is always good to get a win in Ivy play -- home, away, wherever," said head coach Darren Ambrose. "I think that is a talented Harvard team, they have some great players and (Harvard head coach) Ray Leone is doing a great job with them. We maybe had a little more experience out there tonight, especially with our defense, and that made a difference.
"We have been building toward this match, and tonight it showed. We put together a solid 90 minutes, we never lost our composure, and we were able to get out of here with a win."
Harvard (3-3-3, 0-1-0) nearly drew first blood in this match, when the Crimson's Melanie Baskind beat a Penn defender about 30 yards out on the left side, turned toward the middle and rocketed a shot that got past a leaping Rose but rang the crossbar. That would end up being the Crimson's best attempt at the goal on the evening.
Penn's first goal came in the 19th minute. Junior Mara Fintzi played a ball along the left side to Kaiser, who brought it to the end line before sending it across the goalmouth. The ball eluded Harvard goalkeeper Lauren Mann and landed on the feet of McDermott, who easily slid it into the goal for the 1-0 lead.
The Quakers put togetherother chances throughout the match, but it was not until the 76th minute that they were able to get the insurance goal -- and even that came almost on a fluke. Senior Molly Weir played a ball to freshman Ursula Lopez-Palm, who appeared to mishandle it and see it go by her. She had spun the ball just enough for it to go by a Harvard defender, however, and Kaiser ran onto it for a breakaway that she potted past an oncoming Mann's right side.
Penn outshot Harvard, 12-4, as Mann made two saves in the Harvard goal.
Penn is back in action Wednesday night, hosting Saint Joseph's at 7:30 p.m. That match will be the second of a doubleheader, as the Penn men host Villanovaat 5 p.m. to start the night.