Eleni Benson ’05 walked off the field Saturday after 110 minutes of play, shaking her head in disappointment but also breathing a sigh of relief.
“We were lucky,” Benson said. “We were upset we didn’t win, but we came very close to losing.”
Benson and the women’s soccer team (8-3-2, 2-2-1 Ivy) survived a penalty kick in the 92nd minute to tie Pennsylvania (5-6-3, 1-1-3) in double overtime, 1-1.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball for the opening 20 minutes and took an early lead when Jamie Ortega ’06 pushed a header from Benson past Pennsylvania goalkeeper Anna Halse.
But then came along Katy Cross.
Cross, who leads the Quakers and the Ivy League in scoring, netted her 13th goal of the season at 25:43. A match-up miscue in the backfield allowed Penn’s Jenna Linden to walk the ball up to the 18-yard-line. Linden found a cutting Cross, who beat goalkeeper Lindsay Sabel ’03 to the short side to tie the game 1-1.
“We got a little disorganized on defense and [Cross] managed to get behind us,” Benson said.
The Bulldogs had entered Saturday’s game committed to containing Cross. Last year, Cross did not score in Penn’s 2-1 victory over Yale. But this year the reigning conference Rookie of the Year got the best of the Bulldogs.
“Obviously, giving up the goal was disappointing,” Jennie Garver ’03 said. “But it was their first real opportunity, and we were pleased with our play.”
Lee Ann Jasper ’03, who marked Cross in the contest, kept the sophomore off her game for the most part.
“Lee Ann [Jasper] came up big and did a great job of denying Katy [Cross] the ball,” Garver said.
Missed scoring opportunities hampered both teams for the remainder of regulation and overtime.
In the 30th minute, Laurel Karnes ’06 left-footed a cross that an outstretched Halse stopped from slipping inside the post.
Then Lauren Gillies ’03, in her second game back from a bone bruise injury, almost added an insurance goal two minutes later when she drew the goalie out of the net with some dazzling dribbling. But Gillies lost her footing before getting off a shot, and the Quaker defense cleared the ball.
Slick conditions and a strong Penn defensive effort shut down Yale’s short passing game and forced the Yale forwards to take on the entire Quaker defense alone.
“We weren’t very accurate with our passing, and we have a passing-skill game,” Benson said. “The rain might have had something to do with that. We were sloppy.”
Midway into the second half, King penetrated the Quaker backfield, but her shot skipped wide. Brilliant at beating defenders off the dribble, King created space for herself the entire night, but could never finish.
“Penn had lots of players packed in the backfield, so it was hard for us to get back there. But [King] and was great at taking on the defense,” Garver said.
The Bulldogs also hurt themselves with foolish decision-making and turnovers. Yale was caught offsides eight times.
But perhaps the biggest blown chance came in the second minute of the first overtime when Penn missed its free kick.
Penn’s Lydia Bojcun was awarded a penalty kick for a pushing foul in the box, but her ball sailed well over the crossbar.
“We’ve lost some key games before to free kicks,” Garver said. “We were upset, but she missed. At that point, we were happy to come away with a tie.”
Both teams entered overtime with increased intensity, but neither could mount a serious threat aside from Penn’s missed penalty kick. The two schools combined for just five shots on goal in both ten-minute extra periods combined.
The Bulldogs next host Wagner on Wednesday at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.