PHILADELPHIA, PA. 9/15/2013 – In the game of soccer keeping the pressure on the opposition is a key to victory. The University of Pennsylvania Quakers were able to keep the ball in the defense end of the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Finally, Penn broke through with a goal by freshman midfielder Tahirih Nesmith in the 42nd minute as the Red and Blue remained undefeated beating host Saint Joseph’s 1 – 0 at Sweeney Field. Penn Coach Darren Ambrose felt the difference was that his team had the territorial advantage.
“I thought we dominated possession in the first half,” Ambrose said. “We pressed them high up the field. We made them uncomfortable, and that was the whole point. That was the plan and it worked. It created a lot of opportunities for us.”
Penn kept the pressure on putting 14 shots on the Saint Joseph’s goal. However, the Quakers had a difficult time beating the Hawks senior goal keeper Lauren Jancuska who made 5 saves. For the
game Penn had 14 shots on goal, 3 each by Nesmith and senior forward Brianna Rano. The Hawks could muster only one shot on net as Quakers goal keeper Kalijah Terilli saved the shot by sophomore midfielder Erica Graziosi in posting the shutout.
“I felt they outworked us in the midfield, and they kept possession way better than us,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Jess Mannella about the territorial advantage that Penn had in the game. “Every time we tried to play a ball out, we turned it over. The Penn attack from the midfield and forwards, they played quick, they stretched out our midfield.”
The goal came late in the first half. The Red and Blue had a corner kick that caused a scramble in front of the net. The Hawks tried the clear the ball from the box that hit Nesmith that deflected into the lower right corner of the net. It was the third goal of the season for Nesmith.
“All of her goals came off set pieces,” Ambrose said. “She (Nesmith) is a tough player in the air. They cleared the ball off the line, but she is fearless. It’s tough to defend that in the six-yard box. We are dangerous off set pieces and it showed.”
Penn came close to a score early in the second half when sophomore Erin Mikolai hit the left post with her shot.
The Red and Blue improve to 4 – 0 on the season and won their second straight city game, coming off a win against Drexel. Ambrose knows the importance of winning a Philadelphia game.
“The Drexel game was a war,” said Ambrose. “It’s a shame we can’t be like the guys and play a City Six. College sports is about rivalries. We each have our own within the league, but it’s nice that there is something else on the line when you play.”
Saint Joseph’s is 4 – 2 – 2 and get ready to face Princeton. Mannella believes these games will prepare her team for the rigors of the Atlantic 10 conference games.
“We knew today was going to be tough,” Mannella said. “We play Princeton and Hofstra who are tough, so we will see where we are. We’re really happy how we are playing. We have the best team we’ve had in a while. We are excited about it. We have a goal to win the Atlantic 1o. We have the ability to do that, but we have to play our best.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian