PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team is not only one of just five times nationally that is unbeaten and untied; the Quakers are also the only team not to have allowed a goal. Both of those streaks are on the line this weekend, as Penn makes its first true road trip of the season to Virginia. Penn is at William & Mary on Friday night at 7 p.m., and then plays at Old Dominion on Sunday in a 1 p.m. kickoff.
The Series with William & Mary
The Quakers and the Tribe have met only twice in women’s soccer, and not since 2001. That match ended in a 0-0 draw. The first meeting took place in 1996, with William & Mary rolling to an 8-1 victory. Every match between these teams has taken place in Williamsburg, Va.
The Tribe (3-1-2) defeated Radford on Tuesday, 2-1, in overtime; they are unbeaten in five since losing their opener, 2-1, in OT to Georgetown. In fact, four of William & Mary’s six matches this season have gone extra time. Emory Camper leads the Tribe in scoring, with four goals and an assist for nine points. Five other players have scored once. In goal, Caroline Casey has a 0.76 goals-against average and a .800 save percentage.
The Series with Old Dominion
The Quakers and the Monarchs have also only met twice, and they came in consecutive years (1995 and 1996). Penn won the first meeting, in Philadelphia, by a 2-1 score. The next seasons, these teams played in a tournament at William & Mary and ODU won, 3-2. This will be the Quakers’ first trip to Norfolk.
The Monarchs (0-6-0) will be playing for the first time in eight days when they host Penn. Most recently, ODU lost to George Mason on Sept. 14, 3-0. Among its six losses is a 1-0 decision to another Philly team, La Salle. Old Dominion has scored just two goals in those six matches, off the feet of Jackie Stroud and Devin Dougherty. In goal, Meredith Lenox has a 1.99 goals-against average and a .657 save percentage.
*Penn is 27-8-2 overall in the last two-plus seasons with this season’s start, and 31-9-4 over its last 44 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 44 matches, Penn has more shutouts (27) than goals allowed (26).
*So much for starting later than the rest of the country being a disadvantage; Penn is 4-0-0 for the second time in three seasons. (The 2011 squad started the year 5-0-0, all the wins coming by shutout.) The Quakers also were 4-0-0 at this point in 1998; that team went 5-0-0 and then 6-0-1 before its first loss.
*As mentioned above, Penn is the last time in NCAA Division I to allow a goal this season. This is nothing new to the Quakers; two years ago, they led the nation in shutout percentage (13 in 17 matches) and allowed just seven goals all season.
*Never mind keeping teams off the scoresheet; Penn just isn’t giving teams chances to score. The Quakers have outshot their opponents 74-16 so far this season, and Quaker goalie Kalijah Terilli has been called upon just six times to make saves.
*Penn’s 1-0 wins last weekend came off goals from senior Kerry Scalora -- who netted a spectacular free kick from about 25 yards out in the second overtime against Drexel -- and freshman Tahirih Nesmith. For Nesmith, it marked her third goal in four collegiate matches; she is second among Ivy players and 51st nationally in goals per game (0.75).
*Scalora and Nesmith are tied for the team lead with six points each; they are followed by three women -- seniors Brianna Rano and Kathryn Barth, and junior Megan York -- who have three points (1g, 1a).
*Not only did Penn win its opening two games on September 6 and 8, the Quakers did so in record fashion. Their combined 8-0 margin of victory was a season best, topping the previous mark of a combined 6-0 margin set by the 1998 squad. (The 1998 squad went on to win its third, fourth and fifth games by 4-0 margins, and had seven shutouts to start the campaign.)
*Perhaps the most impressive stat from Penn’s opening-weekend wins was that seven different women scored, and 13 recorded a point. The only multi-goal scorer was Nesmith.
*Late in the Saint Peter’s match, Nikoletta Georgalis -- a junior walk-on from the track team -- came into the match for Penn to make her collegiate debut; mere minutes after that, she scored her first collegiate goal.
*It was an all-class affair against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday as the senior Rano, the junior York, and sophomore Elissa Berdini joined the freshman Nesmith in the goal ledger.
*Penn returns two women who earned All-Ivy honors last year, seniors Scalora (first-team forward) and Rano (second-team defender). Scalora was also the 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year.
*Barth, meanwhile, was a second-team All-Ivy and second-team NSCAA all-region selection two years ago, as a sophomore.
*Scalora led Penn in scoring last year, tallying four goals and three assists for 11 points. Two other returning players, Barth and sophomore Erin Mikolai, had three goals apiece.
*In addition to Mikolai, another sophomore to keep an eye on up front is Berdini. She had two goals and two assists last season.
*Moore will step into the middle of the park, looking to replace the graduated Erin Beck. Another returning candidate for that position is senior Laura Oliver.
*Penn lost its two central defenders from a year ago, All-Ivy pick Alex Dayneka and Erin Thayer. On the other hand, sophomores Caroline Dwyer and Jazmyne Simmons are two women who saw lots of time in the backfield along with Rano last year. Cooper also has experience.
Penn finally begins Ivy League play next Friday at Harvard, kicking off with the Crimson at 5 p.m. The Quakers are then home on Sunday, hosting Lehigh in the back half of a men’s/women’s doubleheader on Rhodes Field at 2:30 p.m. (The men kick off with Florida International at noon.)