In the 88th minute of Saturday’s men’s soccer game, forward Jenner Fox ’14 found himself on the right side of Penn’s penalty area facing only one defender and the goalie. As the defender stepped toward Fox, he crossed the ball into the middle of the area to forward Peter Jacobson ’14, whose one-touch finish past the Quaker goalkeeper set off celebration on the field and among the nearly 1,000 spectators in attendance at Reese Stadium.
Jacobson’s shot elevated the Bulldogs (4–7–3, 1–2–1 Ivy) to a thrilling, come-from-behind 2–1 win over the Quakers (2–11–0, 0–4–0 Ivy) at home. The Elis not only earned their first Ivy League victory, but also ended a five-game winless and scoreless streak.
“There’s in old saying in England that ‘football’s a funny game,’” said head coach Brian Tompkins, who hails from London. “And I think you saw that today.”
Midway through the second half, it appeared as though the Bulldogs’ skid would continue. After an opening 65 minutes in which neither team could generate significant momentum, Penn drew a penalty kick after a battle for the ball in the Yale penalty area left a Quaker player down on the field. Penn forward Stephen Baker converted the kick, finding the bottom right corner of the net despite goalkeeper and team captain Bobby Thalman’s ’13 diving deflection.
“I just didn’t get quite enough to push it around the post,” Thalman said. “But knowing that we still had a decent amount of time left in the game, [I] just had to pick up the ball out of the net and make sure that the guys were still motivated because everyone still believed that we could win. I think that showed.”
The Quakers nearly struck again three minutes later, as Penn back Jonny Dolezal fired a volley off of a corner that went wide of the Bulldog goal. Yet the Elis quickly answered back. Fox sent a cross towards the middle of the Quaker penalty area to midfielder Scott Armbrust ’14, who corralled the ball with his chest before taking a touch to his right. He then turned and fired a low shot to the left post past Penn goalkeeper Max Kurtzman to even the score. The 70th minute tally represented the first goal that the Bulldogs recorded in their previous 559 minutes of play.
“It was a great ball played in by Jenner,” Armbrust said. “I had my opportunity and I put it away.”
Tompkins noted that the goal relieved the psychological pressure on the Elis to break their scoreless run.
While Armbrust’s effort knotted the score at 1–1, the Elis were faced with another measure of adversity in the 79th minute when defender Philip Piper ’16 received his second yellow card of the game. The referee showed Piper a red card, sending him off and forcing the Elis to play one man down for the remaining 11 minutes of the game.
Despite the disadvantage, the Bulldogs took the lead on Jacobson’s shot in the closing minutes of the game. Fox and midfielder Max McKiernan ’14 were credited with assists on the goal; Fox’s assist represented his second of the game.
“It’s great to win under any circumstances,” Tompkins said. “But to pick ourselves up off the floor twice, after going a goal down and then going a man down, I thought our guys showed a tremendous amount of character today.”
The excitement of the second half followed a fairly uneventful first. Neither side consistently kept possession, and as a result, both sides were unable to generate genuine scoring opportunities.
The Bulldogs will continue conference play this Saturday at home against Columbia.