PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team travels to Brown this weekend for an important Ivy League contest at Goldberger Family Field in Providence. The Quakers need a victory against the Bears to stay within range of Princeton in the Ivy League title chase. Penn and Brown will face off at noon.
Around the Ivies This Weekend
At the same time that Penn (4-1) and Brown (1-4) are facing off in Providence, Princeton (5-0) will be facing off with Cornell (2-3) in New Jersey. That game obviously has huge implications for the Quakers. Saturday’s other Ivy League match features Dartmouth (2-3) at Harvard (1-4). Yale (2-3) and Columbia (2-3) start the weekend, facing off Friday night in New York City.
The Series with Brown
Historically, Penn has had the upper hand against Brown, winning seven of the last 10 meetings against the Bears and dropping only one match in the last five years (2010). That said, the last three meetings between the two teams have all been decided by one goal, with the Quakers losing 3-2 in 2010, and defeating the Bears 3-2 in 2011 and 2-1 in overtime last year. Penn holds the overall series advantage 25-8-3.
The Bears have gone 3-4 in both September and October for an overall record of 6-8. Most recently, Brown has dropped two Ivy League matches, at Cornell 2-1 and against Princeton 6-2, to drop its league record to 1-4. Over the last month the Bears have collected 12 goals offensively, while surrendering 18 on defense. Junior Meghan O’Donnell leads Brown with 11 goals and 25 points. In goal, junior Shannon McSweeney has started all 14 games and leads the Ivy League in save percentage (.777) and saves per game (9.93).
*At 12-3, Penn has reached a double-digit win total for the first time since the 2004 team went 13-4; that team shared the Ivy League title with Harvard.
*After tying the program record for goals in a season last year, with 42, the Quakers have already shattered the mark this year with 52 goals in 15 games. Penn enters the weekend eighth nationally in goals per game (3.47) and ninth in points per game (9.00).
*Penn took down Villanova earlier this week, topping the Wildcats 2-1. Senior forward Sunny Stirewalt provided all the offense the Quakers would need, scoring once in the first half and once in the second to lead Penn to its second straight victory over its Main Line rival.
*Stirewalt has scored in four of Penn’s last six games; her two-goal effort Wednesday is the second time this season she has achieved the accomplishment. On October 20, she scored twice and added an assist against Appalachian State. Stirewalt now has 15 points (6g, 3a).
*Junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week on Tuesday, following a performance against Yale that included tying a career high with 15 saves (without allowing a goal) and then stopping four of five shootout efforts after the game was still tied following two overtimes. On the last 1-on-1, she tripped the Yale player, then stopped the ensuing penalty stroke to clinch Penn’s win.
*Saturday’s game marked Sokach’s sixth double-digit-save games this season. She also had 11 in a 2-1 loss at Bucknell; 12 in a 4-3 win against Cornell; 12 in a shutout win at Harvard; 11 in a loss to Lafayette; and 12 in the OT win at Rider.
*Sokach enters the weekend ranked 12th nationally in save percentage (.771) and 16th in saves per game (6.73). She is second among Ivy goalies in both categories. The player in front of her? Her counterpart this weekend, Brown’s Shannon McSweeney.
*Sports Illustrated featured freshman Jasmine Cole in its ‘Faces in the Crowd’ feature this week. Cole, who has been Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice and co-Ivy League Player of the Week once this season, enters the weekend leading Penn and the Ivy League in goals per game (1.07). Cole is fifth in the nation in goals per game and 10th in points per game (2.33).
*Cole already has two hat tricks in her collegiate career; it took her four games to do it. The first one came at Saint Joseph’s, and the second one came in her Ivy League debut against Cornell.
*Junior forward Emily Corcoran was named Ivy League Player of the Week and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week on October 15. She earned the award by recording three goals -- one an overtime game-winner -- and three assists in non-conference wins over Rider and UMass Lowell.
*Corcoran was the third different Penn player to earn the Ivy honor this season (also Cole and Sokach). Amazingly, the last time the Quakers had three different women earn Ivy Player of the Week honors was 1988 (Nicky Hitchens, Sue Donohue, Ellen Vagelos).
*Corcoran entered the week third in the Ivy League and 11th nationally in points per game (2.29), 15th in goals per game (0.86), and 21st nationally in assists per game (0.57).
*A fourth player, freshman forward Elise Tilton, was the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on October 8 after scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of Penn’s 5-4 overtime win against Dartmouth; the goals erased a 4-2 deficit and got the Quakers to OT.
*After scoring twice against Appalachian State on October 20, Tilton has 10 goals and 21 points this season. She is 31st nationally in goals per game (0.71).
*Penn has gone to overtime four times this season, winning three of them (Dartmouth and Rider in OT, Yale in shootout). Corcoran scored the winner in both games that Penn won in OT.
*Senior Julie Tahan was on the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll on October 22; she scored a goal at Columbia, then added a goal and an assist vs. App State. She now has 15 points on the season (4g, 7a) and is 37th nationally in assists per game (0.50).
*Sophomore Elizabeth Hitti scored the only goal in Penn’s 1-0 win at Harvard, a nice homecoming for the Massachusetts resident. She has 10 points (4g, 2a).
*Junior defender MaryRose Croddick, who sets most of Penn’s penalty corners at the top of the circle, has three assists this season.
*It has been nice to see junior Alex Iqbal get back onto the score sheet in recent games; she has three assists this season. Iqbal was an All-Ivy performer as a freshman, but missed all of last year due to an injury.
*Tahan and Croddick were second-team All-Ivy players a year ago; both are back this season. Hitti, meanwhile, received honorable mention despite being a freshman.
After the weekend Penn will have only Princeton left on it schedule in a matchup that has the potential for Ivy League championship implications. If the Quakers beat the Bears, their game with the Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 9 will be for at least a share of the Ivy League title.