PHILADELPHIA – Penn entered the 2012 men’s soccer season with five chances in a row to pick up points at its home confines of Rhodes Field. The first chance slipped by the wayside at the hands of Lafayette, 3-2.
The Quakers (0-1-0) had the statistical edge in both shots (16-12) and shots on goal (9-8), adding control of the corner kick game (5-3) but twice found themselves down by a goal in the first half – and down by a pair midway through the second period. Alex Reddy scored his first career goal in the 17th minute to tie the match for the Red and Blue on a pretty free kick from almost 40 yards out. A left-footed midfielder, Reddy came to the right side of the field and launched a free kick that snuck past the keeper after Travis Cantrell caused a commotion in the box passing in front of the keepers at the perfect time.
The marker in the 17th minute equaled Lafayette’s opening goal on the 12th minute as Alec Golini took a long run down the right side, cut towards the middle and fired back to the right post to give the Leopards an early lead. Lafayette regained its lead in the 33rd minute on a free kick of its own as Blake Fink curled in a ball from 25 yards out.
Penn came out of halftime with renewed vigor to square the match, as Duke Lacroix twice came down the left side early looking for enough space to score. He was denied twice, but the Red and Blue also earned three corner kicks in a span of 1:16, each unluckily bouncing just out of reach of a Penn attacker.
In the 70th minute, Lafayette pounced on a rebound to double its lead, Tom McCutcheon getting a boot to the ball just before Tyler Kinn could smother the rebound of one of his five saves. Kinn was busy all afternoon, finishing with a career-high five saves in the loss as Penn played without starting center back Jonny Dolezal who was out with injury.
Co-captain Travis Cantrell scored in the 90th minute to get Penn within one, but his goal off a corner – his service came right at the near post and was knocked in by the diving keeper – was just eight seconds before the buzzer and provided not enough time for the Quakers to find a third strike.
The loss is Penn’s first in a home-opener since a 3-2 loss to Seton Hall Sept. 4, 2009. That loss is also the last time the Quakers scored twice in a match at Rhodes Field and failed to come away with at least a point.
Penn has a chance to get in the win column for the first time in 2012 on Sunday when the Quakers host New Hampshire in the first-ever meeting between the two schools at 6 p.m. at Rhodes Field.