PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team capped its opening weekend with another victory, grinding out a 1-0 result over Army West Point on Sunday night at Rhodes Field. Emily Sands drew a foul in the box in the 63rd minute, earning a penalty kick and calmly placing it in the right corner for the game's only goal.
Penn, who has scored all six of its goals in the second half this season, locked down another shutout on the other end behind two saves from first-team All-Ivy keeper Kitty Qu and more rock solid defending from its steady back four.
*All six goals of Penn's goals this season have come in the 60th minute or later.
*This marks just the second time since 2013 that the Quakers have put away six goals in their first two games.
*Sands' goal is the sixth of her career, and pushes her career point total to 19 as a junior.
*Qu's shutout was her seventh, moving her into sole possession of 10th place all-time in program history.
*Penn's 2-0 start is its first since 2015.
*Penn dominated in the shot department once again, taking 12 to Army's four. The Quakers have outshot their opponents 38-8 on the young season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Black Knights started well and were able to get into solid crossing positions through the early stages of the contest. Army West Point, in fact, was already playing its fifth game of the season – a stretch it maneuvered without a loss – and looked to be in form. Qu stood up to the Army pressure, though, not necessarily by making saves, but instead influencing those early crosses by stepping off her line and intercepting the ball.
It seemed as if momentum quickly changed, however, around the 15-minute mark. Penn started to see a lot more of the ball, and much of that came from Sasha Stephens, as it did in the first half against Mount St. Mary's on Friday night. Through 20 minutes, just two shots were recorded, both by the senior winger.
It looked like a goal was coming for Penn, fresh off its 5-0 explosion over the Mount, and it earned its best chance of the first half in the 31st minute. Jadyn Wilensky drove down the right sideline and whipped a ball into Sands' feet. With her back to goal, she shimmied to her left and found a slither of room for a shot from about 12 yards out. Army goalie Sydney Cassalia just was able to get her right hand on it and make the save.
The Quakers kept their collective foot on the gas, finishing the half with another solid chance, again coming from Sands. The junior struck a rebounded ball from just outside the box and it was tracking towards the inside of the far post, but Cassalia (who finished with seven saves) made another stop.
Just out of the break, Stephens found the end line and hit a missile across the face of goal, but nobody wearing white was able to get on the other end. However, in the 63rd minute, Penn had its breakthrough.
From the left wing, Sands wiggled free of a defender near the end line, putting her on her hip and then drawing a foul just as she charged into the penalty area. The junior stepped up to the penalty and nonchalantly found the top corner, wrong-footing Cassalia.
Immediately after the goal, Sands threaded a ball into the path of Stephens down the right wing behind the defense, but the senior's shot flew high. From there, the back four, plus the ruthless play of Megan Lloyd and Allie Trzaska just in front of them, held down the lead and earned another victory for Penn. The group of Chase Geffert, Katharine Larson, Camillia Nwokedi and Wilensky has logged 705 of the possible 720 minutes thus far in the back.
The 16th-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack will invade University City on Friday evening to take on the undefeated Quakers at 5 p.m.