Emily Sands as clutch as they come for Penn women's soccer

Matt Leon
October 17, 2018 - 11:49 am
Penn junior forward Emily Sands

Penn Athletcs

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The 2018 season has already been a magical one for the University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team.

The Quakers are 10-1-1 (3-0-1 in the Ivy League) heading into Saturday's road match at Yale. You don't have success like this unless you are getting all kinds of contributions from up and down the roster. But one player's season is really standing out.

Junior forward Emily Sands leads Penn with six goals. That's impressive enough on its own, but then consider that every one of those six goals this season have been game-winners — four of them the only goals in 1-0 Quaker victories.

"When it got to four game-winners right before the Columbia game (on Oct. 5), I kind of recognized that they were all game-winners," Sands said. "Then the Columbia game and two days later the Lehigh game I got the game-winners in both of those, so that's when it was kind of like a thing."

The six game-winning goals have Sands tied for second in the country in that category. She talks about a key to having success in big spots.

"I think it's just me giving my all to the team whenever I can and in every moment that I can," she said. "There are certain moments where I make a decision like, 'I'm going to win this ball. I'm going to get to that spot where I know my teammate is going to play me the ball.' So that helps. I'm in the right spots because I make a conscious decision to get there and beat this one player and stuff like that, and being in the right spots is really what has helped a lot, I think."

Sands' success in the clutch has garnered her a lot of attention, but she always brings the discussion back to the team.

"The team's big mantra is 'Team first,'" she said. "One player is not bigger than the team."

The team success for the Quakers comes a season after Penn finished 5-8-3. Sands says it didn't take long for everyone to realize that this year was going to be different.

"We had a pre-preseason fitness test that we were running together to see how we would do on the normal fitness test," she remembered. "It was before the coaches even got there, we were just doing it together and everyone did exceptional. I think the returners were kind of like, 'I think there is something here.' Then we had a pick-up game after and we all kind of were looking at each other like, 'We're just clicking really well.'"

Penn is currently tied with Harvard for first place in the Ivy League.

Saturday's match with Yale gets underway at 1 p.m. in New Haven, Connecticut.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.