Women's Soccer Hits The West Coast This Weekend
PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team got stuck in a rut last weekend, failing to score in matches against Marist and Drexel. The Quakers will try to get back on track this weekend, and what a way to do it -- they travel all the way across the country for their final two non-conference games before the start of Ivy League play. Penn is at Pac-12 opponent Cal on Friday at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. Eastern) and follows up with a trip to Sacramento State on Sunday at 1 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern).
Friday's Game to be Televised: Friday night's game at Cal will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. Click here to see if you get the Pac-12 Network so you can watch the Quakers!
Penn Women's Soccer in the Golden State: This marks Penn's third trip to California, and its second in three years. In 2010, the Quakers were in Southern California, defeating CSU-Northridge (1-0) and losing at Loyola Marymount (1-0) en route to the Ivy League title. In 2004, Penn played at Cal (losing 2-0) and San Francisco (tying 1-1).
The Series with Cal: The Quakers and the Golden Bears have met twice in women's soccer, with Cal winning both times. The first meeting took place in Philadelphia in 2002, with Cal winning 4-2. The second matchup came in Berkeley in 2004, with the Bears winning 2-0.
About Cal: The Bears (5-2-0) enter the weekend having won three straight matches, over Cal Poly (4-1), San Francisco (3-0) and UC Davis (2-1 in double overtime). Cal's losses have come to Santa Clara (1-0) and No. 21 Missouri (3-2). Betsy Hassett leads the team with 10 points (3g, 4a) while Grace Leer has four goals and Ifeoma Onumonu has three. Overall, Cal has outscored its opponents 19-8 in seven matches. At the other end, Emily Kruger has started every match and played all but eight minutes between the pipes; she has a 1.14 goals-against average and a .680 save percentage.
I Know You! Cal's associate head coach, Patrick Baker, was the head coach at Penn from 1994-98. He compiled a 42-37-5 record during that time, including a 14-5-0 mark in 1997 that still stands as the program record for wins in a season (the 2011 team tied it, going 14-2-1). That 1997 team and his 1998 squad (11-5-1) were the first in program history to record double-digit win totals. (Penn has had a varsity women's soccer program since 1991.) Baker remains second all-time in wins behind current Penn coach Darren Ambrose, who is 121-63-27 in 12+ seasons.
Taking it Further: Baker left Penn after the 1998 season for Florida State. Who was his assistant coach at FSU in 1999? Why, Darren Ambrose, who left after that season to take the reins at Penn.
We Are Getting DEEP: Cal's head coach, Neil McGuire, also has a history with Coach Ambrose -- they were college rivals at the NCAA Division II level, Ambrose at USC-Spartanburg and McGuire at Augusta State University. Both of them were first-team All-Peach Belt Conference in 1992. (Ambrose's USC-S team bested McGuire's Augusta team twice that season, once in the regular season and again in the PBC Tournament championship match.)
The Series with Sacramento State: The Quakers and the Hornets are meeting for the first time in women's soccer.
About Sac St: The Hornets (1-3-2) were in Las Vegas last weekend, losing to UNLV 2-0 and tying Indiana State 0-0. They are scheduled to host UC Santa Cruz on Friday before Penn comes to town on Sunday. Elece McBride has two of Sacramento State's four goals this season, while Jessica Castano and Raylene Larot have one goal each. Through three weekends, the Hornets have followed a pattern in goal -- Kimberly Mata on Friday, Shelby Tomasello on Sunday. Mata has a 2.33 goals-against average and a .667 save percentage, while Tomasello has a 1.16 GAA and an .818 save percentage.
*Penn is 16-4-1 overall since the start of last season, and 20-5-3 over its last 28 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 28 matches, Penn has allowed just 13 goals.
*Prior to last weekend, the last time Penn lost back-to-back games was a year ago, against George Mason and Harvard. The Quakers won a program-record eight straight matches after that skid and finished the year on a 9-0-1 run.
*Seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall return this year from last year's historic squad, which went 14-2-1 overall including a 5-1-1 mark in the Ivy League (good for second place behind Harvard). Penn is 9-2-3 in Ivy League play the last two years combined.
*Juniors Kerry Scalora and Laura Oliver lead Penn in scoring with three points apiece (1g, 1a). Oliver's goal opened the scoring in the season opener against James Madison -- it came on her first touch of the game, and tied the game just 27 seconds after JMU had taken a 1-0 lead -- while Scalora's goal was the winner against the Dukes.
*Junior Brianna Rano had Penn's first goal on Sept. 2 against Temple, while classmate Claire Walker netted the insurance goal late in the match. Rano's goal was the second of her career, while Walker's was her first as a collegian.
*Senior Sarah Banks has played all four games in goal for Penn, combining for 12 saves while allowing four goals. She has been bolstered by a veteran defense in front of her that included Rano, seniors Erin Thayer and Alex Dayneka, and sophomore Haley Cooper. Freshman Jazmyne Simmons has also gotten into the mix in the last two matches.
*Penn's captains for 2012 are senior midfielder Erin Beck -- a second-year captain -- along with Dayneka and Walker.
*Penn returns three All-Ivy players from a year ago, two first-teamers in Beck and senior goalkeeper Banks. Junior forward Kathryn Barth was a second-team selection in 2011.
*In addition, Penn figures to be bolstered by the return of Scalora. The 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year and second-team All-Ivy was injured in the Quakers' sixth game a year ago and missed the remainder of the season.
*Penn returns three of its top four scorers from a year ago in Barth (8g, 8a), sophomore Megan York (5g, 1a) and sophomore Callan Parra (4g, 2a). Yet another sophomore, Clara Midgley, scored four goals.
*Banks started 16 of Penn's 17 matches last year, allowing just five goals for a 0.42 goals-against average that was among the national leaders.
*The best record in program history by percentage (14-2-1, .853).
*The 14 wins tied for most in program history (also 1997) and the two losses tied for fewest in program history (also 2001).
*An eight-match win streak, longest in program history (previous record six).
*The team allowed just seven goals all season, a program record (previous mark 13), and scored 39 goals which was tied for second-most in program history (also 2001).
*Penn posted 13 shutouts in 17 matches, setting a program record and leading the nation at the NCAA Division I level in shutout percentage (.765).
*Penn finished last year third nationally in goals-against average (0.41), sixth in win percentage (.853), and seventh in save percentage (.887).