PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team erupted in the second half, scoring five goals -- four of them in the final 10 minutes -- to open its 2018 season with a 5-0 win over Mount St. Mary's on Friday night at Rhodes Field. Paige Howard scored the first of her game-high two goals – the first two of her career – in the 81st minute to ignite the scoring outburst.
The robust offensive debut had plenty of Quakers jumping in on the action with five notching at least a point. At the other end, Kitty Qu, behind her solid and effective back four, earned her first shutout of the new campaign. The 2017 first-team All-Ivy selection racked up five clean sheets a season ago, and is off to another promising start.
*Douglas N. Brush Head Coach of Women's Soccer Nicole Van Dyke improves to 2-2 in season openers. Penn moves to 16-11-1 all-time.
*The win halts a two-game losing streak in campaign debuts.
*Penn's five goals are the most scored in a game since Sept. 30, 2016 in a 5-0 win over Cornell.
*Howard finished her freshman campaign with one point on one assist. She opened 2018 with five points against the Mountaineers.
*The junior Qu completed her sixth career shutout, moving her into a tie for 10th all-time with Anna Halse '04.
*Sasha Stephens opened the scoring for the Quakers in the 60th minute, tallying her 11th goal and 30th and 31st points of her career.
*Sophomore transfer Breukelen Woodard put her stamp on her initial Penn contest, scoring once and adding an assist on Kelsey Andrews' goal.
*Andrews was the third Quaker to etch her name on the scoring sheet more than once, beginning her junior season with three points. She entered the season with one point from her freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
*Penn's 26 shots were more than the total in every game last season except a 0-0 draw with Cornell on Sept. 29 (28).
*The Quakers' nine corners would have been third-most in the 2017 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a bit of a slow start for both squads as they began to feel each other out and settle into the flow of the game. After the opening 15 minutes, however, Penn started to grab a foothold and saw a lot more of the ball than the Mountaineers towards the middle portion of the first half.
Stephens was the Quaker who shouldered a lot of the offensive momentum through that segment of play, taking three shots in under a 10-minute span as a frequent target down the right wing. Twice, she looked to be in on goal, one coming off a free kick hammered by Chase Geffert near midfield. With Stephens applying her footprint to the proceedings, Howard then started to assert herself on the opposite wing, repeatedly taking on defenders in one-on-one situations. In the 25th minute, in particular, she beat a pair of Mountaineers before working her way to the end line and whipping a cross into Stephens, but Mount keeper Charlotte Elrod was up to the task once again.
Coming out of the halftime break, it was the Quakers really asking the questions of Mount St. Mary's. They created chance after chance in the initial 15 minutes before finally finding the breakthrough. Allie Trzaska played a beautifully-weighted ball down the right channel into the path of Stephens and the senior earned a step on her defender, blitzed her way into the box and then buried a ball into the opposite corner, giving Penn the 1-0 lead after an hour.
The Red and Blue were set on keeping the ball and managing the game for the next 20 minutes or so before hitting the Mountaineers with its onslaught.
Trzaska, who, along with Megan Lloyd, held down and steadied the midfield all night, cut back and whipped a left-footed ball into the center where Howard was waiting for a tap in. Less than five minutes later, Andrews scored off some two-man movement coming from a corner, unleashing the floodgates. Howard scored her second just 2:30 later, off another set piece before Woodard captured her first Penn goal in the 89th minute.
The Quakers stay at home to take on Army West Point on Sunday evening at Rhodes Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. against the Black Knights.