PHILADELPHIA – The Ivy League title is out of reach, but the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team still has something to play for on Friday when the Quakers host Princeton at 6 p.m. on Rhodes Field. At 11-1-4 overall, the Red and Blue can clinch second place in the conference with a win, and a victory would also go a long way toward keeping Penn in the conversation for an at-large berth when the NCAA field is put together this weekend.
Around the Ivies
About an hour after Penn and Princeton kick off Friday night, Brown (3-2-1) and Yale (2-3-1) will square off against each other in New Haven at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Cornell (1-5-0) is at Dartmouth (3-3-0) at 3 p.m. while Harvard (6-0-0) completes its Ivy League championship campaign at Columbia (1-3-2) at 4 p.m.
Friday’s match will be the last home game for five women: Kathryn Barth, Laura Oliver, Brianna Rano, Kerry Scalora, and Claire Walker. They have been a part of one of the best eras in the Penn women’s soccer program’s history. The Quakers have gone 43-16-8 overall during their tenure; only the classes of 2002 and 2003 have won more matches in the program’s 23-year history. Penn is also 18-5-4 in Ivy League play during their careers and won the Ivy title in 2010, when these women were freshmen. If Penn wins on Friday, these five women would have more Ivy League wins than any other class in the program’s history.
The Series with Princeton
The Tigers lead the overall series, 12-8-2, but the Quakers are 3-2-1 over Princeton in the last six meetings. Last year, these teams played with the Ivy League title in the balance; Princeton scored a 4-2 win to earn the title outright. Two years ago, Penn had a 3-1 victory at Rhodes Field. In fact, the Quakers have only lost to the Tigers once on Rhodes Field since 1995; that was in 2005.
The Tigers (7-5-4, 1-4-1) entered the season as the defending Ivy League champions, but finally got their first conference win last weekend over Cornell, 4-0. In fact, Princeton has won two matches in a row. Tyler Lussi is Princeton’s leading scorer with eight goals and 20 points, while Lauren Lazo -- a first-team All-Ivy pick last year -- has six assists and five goals for 16 points. Melissa Downey and Jessica Haley have scored three goals apiece. Gabriella Guzman (1g, 2a) was a first-team All-Ivy pick last year. In goal, Darcy Hargadon has 11 starts, a 1.28 goals-against average and a .659 save percentage while Cecilia Di Caprio has four starts, a 1.75 GAA and a a .600 save percentage.
By picking up a road win last weekend, Penn entered the week with the best Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) among the Ivy League programs, at 43. The RPI, of course, is a major factor when the NCAA Championship field is picked this weekend. With Princeton’s RPI at 80, Penn can greatly help its cause with a win on Saturday. (Penn’s RPI can also be helped by other successful teams they have beaten or tied on the road this season -- keep an eye on #35 William & Mary at the CAA Tournament and #69 Navy at the Patriot League Tournament, both running semifinals on Friday and final on Sunday.) Realistically, Penn’s RPI probably needs to be in the high 30s to mid-40s after this weekend for the Red and Blue to even think about the possibility of an at-large bid.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced the Capital One Academic All-District teams in women’s soccer last Thursday, and two Penn women were honored in District II, seniors Kathryn Barth and Claire Walker. They are the fifth and sixth women in program history to be recognized at this level by CoSIDA, and the first since Adrienne Lerner in 2011. This also marks the first time Penn has had two women earn Academic All-District in the same season. Barth and Walker are now eligible for Capital One Academic All-America honors; those will be voted on by CoSIDA members in November.
*At 11-1-4, Penn is making history. Using the formula of three points for a win and one for a tie, the Quakers have 37 of a possible 48 points this season. The only other Penn teams that had 37 points or more at the 16-match mark were 2011 (13-2-1/40 points), 2007 (12-3-1/37), 2001 (12-1-3/39), and 1999 (12-3-1/37).
*In addition, this is only the second time that Penn has had just one loss at this point in the season, the other being 2001 (12-1-3).
*Penn’s .813 win percentage put the Quakers 18th nationally at the start of the week.
*Penn has had at least 10 wins in two of the last three seasons, three of the last five, and four of the last seven campaigns.
*Penn has had at least 11 wins in a season six times in program history (since 1991) including two years ago (14) and in 2007 (13).
*Penn is 38-10-8 over its last 56 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 56 matches, Penn has more shutouts (35) than goals allowed (32).
*Penn is 20-5-4 in its last 29 Ivy League matches, dating back to the 2009 season.
*Penn has not lost to an Ivy League team at home since a 2-1 loss to Columbia on Oct. 8, 2010. Since then, the Quakers are 10-0-1 on Rhodes Field against Ivy opposition, the tie coming two weeks ago against Yale.
*Penn had a shutout streak of 697 minutes snapped when Yale scored on October 26; it was the only goal the Quakers allowed in the month of October.
*Penn was the last team in NCAA Division I to allow a goal this season -- Old Dominion finally dented the Quakers’ net on September 22 -- and has allowed just six goals in 16 matches.
*Penn entered the week third in the nation in shutout percentage (.750) and fourth in goals-against average (0.35). Two years ago, the Quakers led the nation in shutout percentage (13 in 17 matches) and allowed just seven goals all season.
*Never mind keeping teams off the score sheet; Penn just isn’t giving teams many chances to score. The Quakers have outshot their opponents by a whopping 221-114 so far this season, and Quaker goalies Kalijah Terilli and Katherine Myhre have been called upon just 37 times to make saves (Terilli 29, Myhre 8).
*Penn has had 13 different players score its 26 goals this season.
*Junior defender Haley Cooper became the 13th different goal scorer this season at Brown last Saturday; it was her first collegiate goal.
*Senior Brianna Rano had the assist on Cooper’s goal, giving her three helpers this season which is tied for the team lead along with senior Kerry Scalora, junior Clara Midgley and sophomore Erin Mikolai.
*Penn has had one scoreless tie this year, and three others where goals were scored. In those three ties, the Quakers spotted the opposition their goals first (2 for ODU, 1 for Lehigh, 1 for Yale) before coming back to salvage the draw.
*Scalora had Penn’s goal in the Yale match, a penalty kick in the 90th minute. It was Scalora’s third PK goal this season, and her team-leading sixth overall.
*Scalora enters the Princeton match with 16 career goals and 12 career assists for 44 career points.
*Mikolai had a goal and an assist at NJIT, coming on the heels of her performance against Dartmouth last weekend when she might have been the best player on the field and assisted the winning goal.
*Laura Oliver also had a goal at NJIT, her first this season.
*Junior Megan York had Penn’s goal against Dartmouth, her third tally this season. She also has two assists for eight points.
*Penn’s win at Navy on October 14 was the program’s 200th all-time (after the Dartmouth win, the program’s all-time record is 201-143-39). Head Coach Darren Ambrose has been at the helm for 137 of those victories.
*The Navy win also guaranteed Penn a winning overall record for the 2013 season. The Quakers have finished above .500 every one of Coach Ambrose’s 14 seasons.
*Penn boasts 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.
*Senior Kathryn Barth, meanwhile, was a second-team All-Ivy and second-team NSCAA all-region selection two years ago, as a sophomore.