After suffering close losses to Columbia and Niagara over the weekend, the women’s soccer team aims to pick up its first win of the season when it welcomes Ancient Eight rival Penn to Berman field Friday at 7 p.m.
The Red (0-9, 0-1 Ivy League) has struggled on offense recently, scoring just one goal in its last three games. Despite falling to Columbia, 1-0, senior forward Xandra Hompe said the loss could still provide the team with momentum heading into the match-up with Penn.
“We didn’t come out too strong in the first half, but we played really well in the second,” she said. “If we just carry that energy over into the game against Penn we’ll be fine.”
The Quakers (4-4, 1-0) are coming off a 1-0 loss to Boise St. but are buoyed by a 1-0 victory over defending Ivy League champion Harvard. Penn’s strong season shouldn’t intimidate the Red, though, according to junior midfielder Rachel Nichols.
“Penn has always been a tough opponent,” she said. “We just need to go into the game with confidence that we’ll do well against them even though their record is currently better than ours.”
Last-second goals have decided games recently for both the Quakers and the Red. Penn scored its only goal against Harvard with less than five seconds remaining, while Niagara scored the winning goal against Cornell with 4.3 seconds left in the game.
In recent years, the series against Cornell has shifted in favor of the Quakers, who have beaten the Red 13 consecutive times. The Quakers took last year’s match-up, 2-1, after the Red failed to build on a first-half lead.
This season’s contest against the Quakers marks the Red’s Ivy League home opener. After playing just two games at home so far this season, Hompe said the team is energized for the match.
“We’re excited to play at home—we’ve been on the road a lot so we’re excited to bring out that energy in front of our fans,” she said.
The Quakers bring a balanced attack to Ithaca, with five players tied for the team lead in scoring. Penn outshot Harvard 7-1 and tallied a total of 10 shots against Boise St. in the second half alone.
The center point of the Red’s defense is junior goalkeeper Tori Christ, who has started every game so far this season.“When Tori plays really well that’s motivating,” Hompe said. “A lot of people look up to her.”
According to Nichols, the Red is preparing for the game by playing hard in practice. The team hopes working at a higher intensity can help to top its Ivy league foe and earn its first victory.
“If we win against Penn, that would just boost our confidence significantly,” Nichols said. “The first win is always the hardest one to get, and after that more wins come and better things happen.”