PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team is off to one of the fastest starts in program history, and looks to keep the good times rolling twice this weekend. The Quakers get back into Ivy League play on Friday night at Columbia, facing off with the Lions at 6 p.m., and then they host Appalachian State Sunday at noon on Ellen Vagelos Field.
Directions to Ellen Vagelos Field!
The Series with Columbia
The Quakers and the Lions have met 17 times, with Penn holding a 10-7 lead in the series that dates back to 1996. However, Columbia has won four of the last six meetings including a 3-2 overtime decision last year at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Three of the last six, five of the last nine, and six of the last 12 meetings have needed overtime.
The Lions (5-6, 1-2 Ivy League) are wrapping up a homestand this weekend, with Penn Friday and Delaware on Sunday. Columbia has beaten Brown, and lost to Cornell and Princeton in Ivy play. Katie Ruesterholz leads Columbia with 10 goals and 22 points, while Zoe Blake has four goals and 10 points. Christina Freibott has three goals this season, while Liz Malone and Leah Matthews have scored twice. At the other end, Kimberly Pianucci has played a majority of the minutes in goal; she has a 3.30 goals-against average and a .705 save percentage.
Around the Ivies This Weekend
Penn (3-0) and Columbia (1-2) open up conference play this weekend, with the other six teams playing on Saturday at noon. The only other unbeaten team in the league, Princeton (3-0), is at Brown (1-2), while Dartmouth (1-2) is at Yale (1-2) and Harvard (1-2) is at Cornell (1-2).
The Series with Appalachian State
The Quakers and the Mountaineers have played twice, with each team winning at home. Two years ago, Penn defeated ASU 5-2 on Franklin Field; the Mountaineers avenged that loss with a 3-2 overtime victory last year in Boone, N.C.
The Mountaineers (2-11) Lindsay Amador leads ASU with 10 points (3g, 4a), while Caroline Phillips and Lynnae Luettich have scored three goals apiece. Jordyn Warren, Jessi Stuart and Casten Farr have two goals each. In goal, Sarah Anderson has 11 of the 13 starts; she holds a 7.45 goals-against average and a .676 save percentage.
Appalachian State’s head coach is Brandi Alexander Kist, who played field hockey at Penn from 1999-2002 and graduated from the University in 2003 with a degree in Classical Studies.
It’s the Annual “Yellow” Game!
Penn will wear yellow socks, armbands, and headbands as part of its uniform for Sunday's game to raise awareness about osteogenic sarcoma, which is the most common type of bone cancer among children, adolescents, and young adults. This will mark the second year that the Quakers have done this.
*At 9-2, Penn is off to its best start since the 1988 team was 9-1-1 at this point. That team was an NCAA Championship semifinalist and finished with a 14-3-1 overall record. Penn’s .818 win percentage to date is seventh best nationally.
*Penn is also 3-0 in Ivy League play for the first time since the 1995 team started league play 4-0.
*Last year the Quakers tied a program record for goals in a season, with 42. They are on pace to shatter that mark this year, with 40 goals in their first 11 games. In fact, Penn is sixth nationally in goals per game (3.64) and points per game (9.55).
*Junior forward Emily Corcoran was named Ivy League Player of the Week and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week this week. 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 is the third different Penn player to earn the Ivy honor this season (also Jasmine Cole and Carly 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).
*A fourth player, freshman forward Elise Tilton, was the Ivy League Rookie of the Week 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. She has eight goals and 17 points this season.
*Corcoran enters the weekend ranked tops in the Ivy League and third nationally in points per game (2.64), seventh in goals per game (1.00), and 12th in assists per game (0.64).
*Cole leads the Ivies and is second nationally in goals per game (1.18) and 10th nationally in points per game (2.45).
*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.
*At the other end, Sokach leads the Ivy League and is 13th nationally in save percentage (.767), and 14th in saves per game (7.18).
*Sokach also has five double-digit-save games this season. She 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 Reder.
*Sokach has a .760 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average for the season. In the last eight games, however, the save percentage is up slightly (.783) while the GAA is down a bit (2.20).
*Penn has gone to overtime twice this season, winning both (against Dartmouth and at Rider). Corcoran has scored the winner in both of those contests.
*Penn defeated Rider 4-3 in overtime last Wednesday; to give you a sense of how big that was, consider that over the last three years the Broncs had not only beaten the Quakers three times, but they had also outscored them by a combined 18-4.
*Sophomore Elizabeth Hitti and senior Julie Tahan both have 10 points this season; Hitti has four goals and two assists, while Tahan has two goals and six assists (she is 28th nationally in assists per game, at 0.55).
*Hitti scored the goal in Penn’s 1-0 win at Harvard, a nice homecoming for the Massachusetts resident.
*Senior Sunny Stirewalt has scored in two of Penn’s last three games, against Dartmouth and UMass Lowell. She also has two assists for six points.
*Junior defender MaryRose Croddick, who sets most of Penn’s penalty corners, has three assists this season.
*It has been nice to see junior Alex Iqbal get back onto the score sheet in recent games; she assisted Tilton’s game-tying goal against Dartmouth, and also had an assist against Pacific. 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.
Penn is at home against next Saturday, hosting Yale in an Ivy League game at Ellen Vagelos Field. The Quakers and Bulldogs will face off at 11:30 a.m.