PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team has finally given up a goal this season, but the Quakers have yet to take a loss. After five straight shutouts to start the campaign, Penn allowed not one but two goals to Old Dominion on Sunday. However, the Red and Blue came back with a goal in each half and salvaged a 2-2 draw.
This weekend, the Quakers open Ivy League play with Harvard on Friday afternoon in Cambridge, Mass. On Sunday, Penn is back at home and on the renovated Rhodes Field for the first time, hosting Lehigh at 2:30 p.m. That game will come on the heels of the men’s match with Florida International, which will kick off at noon.
The Series with Harvard
The Crimson lead the series, 14-5-3; however, those numbers are greatly skewed by the first 10 meetings, all won by Harvard. Since then, Penn is 5-4-3 against Harvard including wins in four of the last six matchups. Last year, Penn won 1-0 in Philadelphia; the previous meeting in Cambridge came two years ago and ended as a 2-0 Harvard victory. Penn’s last win at Harvard came in the 2007 season, a 1-0 decision.
The Crimson (3-3-1) are unbeaten in their last four, and coming off a 5-0 whitewashing of UMass-Lowell on Sunday. Freshman Margaret Purce has been the leader on offense for Harvard; she has four goals and an assist for nine points. Three other players have a goal and an assist each: freshman Joan Fleischman, and seniors Kristina Garrido and Elizabeth Weisman. Three different women have started a match in goal this season, but Bethany Kanten is the incumbent -- she was second-team All-Ivy a year ago. In the field, Meg Casscells-Hamby was first-team All-Ivy last year, while Erika Garcia and Haley Washburn joined Kanten as second-team All-Ivy.
The Series with Lehigh
The Quakers have dominated this series, with a 12-1 lead that includes 11 straight wins dating back to 1993. The last meeting came two years ago, a 3-0 Penn win in Bethlehem; the last matchup here in Philadelphia took place during the 2010 season and was a 2-0 Quaker victory.
The Mountain Hawks (2-4-1) lost a pair of 1-0 games last weekend against American and La Salle; they are scheduled to face Bucknell in a Patriot League match Friday before making the trip to Philadelphia. Lehigh’s wins came against Central Connecticut State and Saint Mary’s (Calif.). Darby Dustman is Lehigh’s only multi-goal scorer, with two. Murphee Greeley and Danielle Salans have the only other Hawk goals this season. In goal, Ashley Blanks has four starts with a 0.81 goals-against average while Ani Nahapetian has three starts and a 0.86 GAA.
*Penn is 27-8-4 overall in the last two-plus seasons with this season’s start, and 31-9-6 over its last 46 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 44 matches, Penn has as many shutouts (28) as goals allowed (28).
*So much for starting later than the rest of the country being a disadvantage; Penn’s 4-0-2 start has been matched or bettered just once in program history, the 1998 team going 5-0-1 through its first six games.
*Penn was the last team in NCAA Division I to allow a goal this season, as Old Dominion finally dented the Quakers’ net last Sunday. This is nothing new to the Quakers; two years ago, they led the nation in shutout percentage (13 in 17 matches) and allowed just seven goals all season.
*Never mind keeping teams off the scoresheet; Penn just isn’t giving teams many chances to score. The Quakers have outshot their opponents by a whopping 109-31 so far this season, and Quaker goalie Kalijah Terilli has been called upon just 11 times to make saves.
*On offense, Penn has had eight different players score its 12 goals.
*After falling behind 2-0 at ODU last Sunday, Penn salvaged the draw thanks to a first-half goal by freshman Lindsey Sawczuk -- her first collegiate goal -- and a goal on the hour from senior Kerry Scalora.
*Scalora’s goal was her third this season and her 13th at Penn. She also has 11 career assists (two this season) for 37 career points. Scalora leads Penn with eight points (3g, 2a).
*Penn’s 1-0 wins against Drexel and Saint Joseph’s came off goals from Scalora -- who netted a spectacular free kick from about 25 yards out in the second overtime against Drexel -- and freshman Tahirih Nesmith. For Nesmith, it marked her third goal in four collegiate matches.
*Both Scalora and York have two assists this season, tied for the team lead in that category. The third Penn player with two assists? Junior defender Haley Cooper, who along with York assisted Sawczuk’s goal Sunday at Old Dominion.
*Not only did Penn win its opening two games on September 6 and 8, the Quakers did so in record fashion. Their combined 8-0 margin of victory was a season best, topping the previous mark of a combined 6-0 margin set by the 1998 squad. (The 1998 squad went on to win its third, fourth and fifth games by 4-0 margins, and had seven shutouts to start the campaign.)
*Perhaps the most impressive stat from Penn’s opening-weekend wins was that seven different women scored, and 13 recorded a point. The only multi-goal scorer was Nesmith.
*Late in the Saint Peter’s match, Nikoletta Georgalis -- a junior walk-on from the track team -- came into the match for Penn to make her collegiate debut; mere minutes after that, she scored her first collegiate goal.
*It was an all-class affair against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday as the senior Rano, the junior York, and sophomore Elissa Berdini joined the freshman Nesmith in the goal ledger.
*Penn returns 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.
*Barth, meanwhile, was a second-team All-Ivy and second-team NSCAA all-region selection two years ago, as a sophomore.
*Scalora led Penn in scoring last year, tallying four goals and three assists for 11 points. Two other returning players, Barth and sophomore Erin Mikolai, had three goals apiece.
*In addition to Mikolai, another sophomore to keep an eye on up front is Berdini. She had two goals and two assists last season.
*Moore will step into the middle of the park, looking to replace the graduated Erin Beck. Another returning candidate for that position is senior Laura Oliver.
*Penn lost its two central defenders from a year ago, All-Ivy pick Alex Dayneka and Erin Thayer. On the other hand, sophomores Caroline Dwyer and Jazmyne Simmons are two women who saw lots of time in the backfield along with Rano last year. Cooper also has experience.
Penn is home two times next weekend, hosting Cornell Friday at 7 p.m. and Fairleigh Dickinson Sunday at 2 p.m.