PRINCETON, N.J. -- For the first time since October 2006, the Penn Quakers sit alone atop the Ivy League men’s soccer standings.
Now unbeaten in their last five matches (4-0-1), the Quakers topped Yale, 3-2, Saturday in overtime on Stephen Baker’s goal. The goal was keyed when Alec Neumann hustled towards a loose ball and blocked a clearing attempt near the goal, deflecting it to the far post where Baker and Duke Lacroix teamed up to knock it home.
That win, coupled with Princeton’s loss at Harvard, gave the Quakers sole possession of first place in the League standings for the first time since October 7, 2006 when they were 3-0-0 in Ancient Eight play.
If there is one thing that this Ivy League campaign has taught us, it is to not assume anything. But what a final day we might just have depending on how things play out.
If Harvard and Penn can manage wins the next two Saturdays, the two teams meet in Cambridge on the final day of the season for what could then decide the Ancient Eight crown and the NCAA automatic bid.
Penn must first get past Brown this weekend and then face rival Princeton at home. Harvard hosts Dartmouth this week and then visits Columbia.
In addition, with Princeton and Yale sitting three points behind Penn, take note that the Tigers and Bulldogs also meet on the final day of the season in Princeton.
What is known is that for the eighth consecutive year, the Ancient Eight will not have a repeat champion in men’s soccer.
Cornell, which won the Ivy title last year, can’t mathematically win the title at this point. In what is now 58 attempts to date, the Ivy League title has been successfully defended 24 times (meaning at least one of the previous season’s champions won the League title the following season). The last team to successfully defend the Ivy title was Dartmouth, which won the 2004 title and then won a share of the 2005 crown (with Brown and Yale).
The longest run of turnover in Ivy men’s soccer championships came from 1986-1994. Columbia’s run of eight straight titles (shared or outright) came to an end in 1986 when Yale claimed the crown. It wasn’t until 1995 when Brown grabbed a share of the title in 1994 (with Harvard) and 1995 (with Cornell) that a repeat champion was crowned.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Penn senior forward Stephen Baker (Fairport, N.Y.) had a hand in all three goals, including tipping in the game-winner in overtime as the Quakers beat Yale to sit atop the Ivy League standings. Baker had a pair of assists in regulation time, both coming off corner kick serves that were headed into the goal to tie the game. The second helper came with just 3:20 left in regulation. Then, in overtime, after Alex Neumann gave chase to a soft pass back to the keeper, Neumann blocked a clearing attempt that deflected to the far post, where Baker got a piece of the ball to send it over the goal line and lift Penn to the 3-2 sudden-victory win.
Penn’s win puts the Quakers in sole possession of first place atop the Ancient Eight for the first time since October 7, 2006. After losing six straight, the Quakers are now unbeaten in their last five outings.
Baker’s Statistics for the
1 GP, 1G, 2A, 4 Pts., 3 shots, 2 SOG
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Harvard freshman forward Daniel Smith (Bellevue, Wash.) scored his first collegiate goal in heroic fashion on Saturday as the Crimson handed Princeton its first League loss and stayed within striking distance of the top of the standings. Smith’s tally with 7:02 remaining in regulation gave Harvard a 2-1 win over the Tigers, the Crimson’s first against Princeton since 2008.
Smith’s Statistics for the
1 GP, 1G, 2 Pts., 3 shots, 1 SOG
Tuesday, October 29
New Hampshire at Dartmouth, 6 pm [IVY]
Yale at Central Connecticut State, 7 pm
Penn State at Penn, 7 pm [IVY]
Boston College at Brown, 7:30 pm [IVY]
Saturday, November 2
*Penn at Brown, 4 pm [IVY]
*Yale at Columbia, 4 pm
*Cornell at Princeton, 4 pm [IVY]
*Dartmouth at Harvard, 7 pm [IVY]
*Ivy League match
[IVY] - Streamed live on The Ivy League® Digital Network