It's All on the Line For Women's Soccer Saturday
PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's soccer team still has a shot at winning a share of its second straight Ivy League title and its third in five years. However, the Quakers must win Saturday's game with Princeton that kicks off at 5 p.m., and hope that Harvard loses at Columbia later that evening.
Penn (13-2-1) knows that a win is the only way into the NCAA Championship field is by winning, as well -- the Quakers can only get into the 64-team field as an at-large, as Harvard has clinched the Ivy's automatic bid. Penn entered the week ranked 62nd in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI); given the number of automatic qualifiers in the field, the Red and Blue probably need to be in the 50-55 range (maybe higher) to get an at-large bid. A tie or loss would most certainly kill Penn's chances, but a win keeps them on the bubble and in the mix. The NCAA Championship field will be announced Monday, with first-round matches beginning Friday at 32 sites around the country.
The Penn-Princeton women's match is the first of a doubleheader on Rhodes Field, as the Quaker men take on the Tigers afterward, at approximately 7:30.
Senior Night: Saturday's match will represent the last at home for seniors Colleen Barry, Adrienne Lerner, Ursula Lopez-Palm, Kelly McCarthy, Marin McDermott, Caroline Williams and Theresa Yankovich. This group enters Saturday's match with an overall record of 40-19-8 at Penn, their 40 wins being the most by a class since the Class of 2003 graduated with 44 victories.
Around The League: All eight teams are in action on Saturday, starting with the undercards of Cornell (0-5-1) at Dartmouth (1-5-0) at 2:30 and Brown (3-2-1) at Yale (3-2-1) at 3 p.m. Penn and Princeton kick off at 5 p.m., and then Harvard (5-0-1) and Columbia (3-2-1) square off in New York City at 7 p.m.
Penn vs. Princeton: The Tigers lead the series, 11-7-2, but Penn is 2-1-1 against its archrival in the last four meetings. That includes last year's 0-0 tie in Princeton that clinched the Ivy League championship for the Quakers. The last two meetings at Rhodes have resulted in 1-0 wins for Penn, the 2007 game coming in overtime.
About Princeton: The Tigers (6-9-1, 2-4-0) may only have six wins, but five of them have come in the last six matches, the only blemish being a 2-1 loss to Ivy champion Harvard in Cambridge. Last Sunday, Princeton defeated Cornell 1-0 behind a Gabriella Guzman goal in the 24th minute. Jen Hoy -- one of three Princeton players who were second-team All-Ivy last year -- leads the Tigers with 19 points (7g, 5a), while Lauren Lazo has 12 points (4g, 4a). Alison Nabatoff and Caitlin Blosser were the other All-Ivy recipients last year. In goal, Kristin Watson went the distance in goal against the Big Red; she has a 0.92 goals-against average in 585 minutes.
*Penn has posted 13 shutouts in its 16 matches, an .813 percentage that is tops in the nation. Another Philadelphia school, La Salle, is second at .765.
*The Quakers also entered the week fourth in goals-against average (0.37), 13th in win percentage (.844), and 30th in scoring offense (2.25 goals per game).
*Depending on how you look at it, you can argue that Penn's 13-2-1 start is the best in program history. The 2001 team was 12-1-3 through 16 matches, so they had fewer losses. However, if you count wins as three points and ties as one, as the Ivy League does, the 40 points racked up by this year's team trumps the 39 accumulated by the 2001 squad at this point. (The 2007 team was 12-3-1 after 16 matches, on the way to an Ivy League title.)
*At 13-2-1, Penn has reached double figures in the win column for the third time in five seasons and the eighth time in program history (since 1991).
*Penn has won 13 or more games just four other times in program history: 1997 (14 wins), 1999 (13), 2001 (13), and 2007 (13).
*Penn is unbeaten in its last nine matches, winning a school-record eight in a row before last Saturday's tie at Brown. The previous record of six straight wins was set in both 2001 and 2007.
*Penn has scored 36 goals which is third in program history behind the 1998 team (42 goals) and the 2001 squad (39).
*Penn has shut out seven straight opponents. That has happened only one other time in program history -- the 1998 team began the season with seven straight clean sheets. The last goal allowed by the Quakers came on Sept. 30 in a 2-1 win over Cornell.
*Penn has 13 shutouts this season, a school record; the previous record of 11 was set in 1997. The 1998 and 1999 teams are the only other ones to reach double figures in clean sheets (10 each).
*Penn has allowed just six goals so far this season. The school record for fewest goals allowed is 13, set in 18 matches by the 2001 squad.
*Penn has won 12 games in a row at Rhodes Field dating back to last season, the Quakers' longest home winning streak since they won 12 in a row bridging the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
*In addition, Penn has allowed just one goal in nine home matches this season (Sept. 30 against Cornell).
*Ten different players have scored Penn's 36 goals this season (six have at least three goals), and 14 different players have a point.
*Sophomore Kathryn Barth had a six-match point-scoring streak ended last Saturday at Brown. During that six-match stretch she tallied six goals and six assists, and she figured in six straight goals over a three-game stretch before the Quakers' final goal against the Mountain Hawks.
*After scoring three goals and assisting three others in two matches the week of Oct. 10, Barth received a host of awards including Ivy League and ECAC Player of the Week as well as a spot on Soccer America's National Team of the Week.
*Barth leads Penn in assists (7) and points (23); her assist total is tied for sixth on the program's single-season list, and her point total is tied for eighth.
*Senior Marin McDermott is tied with Barth for the team lead in goals (8) and second on the team with 18 points.
*McDermott -- who was the Ivy League Player of the Week on Sept. 5 -- has 22 career goals, which puts her alone in sixth place all-time at Penn.
*McDermott also has 53 career points, which is sixth on Penn's all-time list in that category.
*York had two goals and an assist against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 2 and was honored as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for Oct. 3. She is fourth on the team with nine points (5g, 1a).
*Senior Theresa Yankovich has four points in Penn's last three games and is fifth on the team with nine points (3g, 3a).
*Penn was the second-to-last team in NCAA Division I women's soccer to give up a goal this season. The last team to do so was another Philadelphia squad -- La Salle shut out its first 11 opponents this season before finally giving up a goal.
*Penn's defense has recently been anchored by a back four of seniors Adrienne Lerner and Colleen Barry, junior Erin Thayer, and sophomore Brianna Rano. Junior Alex Dayneka has also been a catalyst despite some injuries, as have sophomore Claire Walker and freshman Kaitlyn Moore.
*In goal, junior Sarah Banks has started all 16 matches this season. She has gone the distance in seven of the last ten outings, and has a 0.42 GAA (eighth nationally) and an .872 save percentage (16th nationally).
*Senior Caroline Williams played the second half at Lehigh and had four saves. She has made 11 stops this season and allowed just one goal.