PHILADELPHIA – West Philadelphia bragging rights are at stake Wednesday night as Penn hosts Drexel in men’s soccer at Rhodes Field (7:30 p.m.) in the 40th installment of the University City Derby.
The Red and Blue are in the midst of a four-match homestand, and are looking to snap a six-match losing skid. After winning back-to-back matches at Penn Park in the opening weekend of play, the Quakers have dropped their last half dozen matches, including three at renovated Rhodes Field.
The Dragons, on the other hand, enter the match flying high on the strength of a five-match winning streak. After beginning 2013 0-2-1, the Dragons have outscored their opponents, 9-2, with three shutouts to improve to 5-2-1 overall.
Despite missing out on positive results, the Red and Blue have been maintaining a high level of offense throughout 2013. Just twice have the Quakers failed to register at least one goal during a match this season, and Penn has tallied at least two goals in four outings. Nationally, Penn’s 1.63 goals-per-game and 13 total goals scored rank in the top 25% of Division I programs.
Duke Lacroix earned a spot on the Ivy League’s weekly Honor Roll after scoring twice last week to take the team lead in scoring with three total goals in 2013. He is part of a group six players tied for fifth in the Ivy League in points with six, joined by teammate Louis Schott who has two goals and two assists. Lacroix’s three goals are tied for fourth among Ancient Eight players.
The Ivy League’s most frequent shot taker returns to Penn’s lineup on Wednesday night in Stephen Baker. The senior striker has averaged 3.57 shots-per-game over the 2013 season, totaling 25 shots over seven matches. He missed Sunday’s 2-0 loss to FIU after receiving a pair of yellow cards in the early stages of Friday’s match with Florida Gulf Coast. The Quakers will be without Alex Murphy after the sophomore received a red card on Sunday against the Panthers.
Drexel matches up exactly with the Quakers in terms of total goals scored (13) and goals-per-game (1.63) after running through its last five opponents. On Saturday, the Dragons netted their biggest win of the season with a 2-1 win over William & Mary – a team which had scored two wins over teams ranked No. 1 this season. The CAA regular season champion and an NCAA Tournament qualifier last season, Drexel found success when it turned to freshman goalkeeper Tyler Afflerbach in goal. Since entering the starting lineup Sept. 8 against Stony Book, Afflerbach has backstopped the Dragons to all five of their wins this season, and he enters the week ranked third in the country in save percentage at .900 (18 saves) and is fourth in goals-against (0.40) with just two goals allowed.
All-time, Penn is 28-9-2 against the Dragons. Last season, Drexel netted a 2-1 win at Vidas Field, Action was fast and furious to start the game, both teams with a goal before the match was 13’ old. Travis Cantrell had Penn’s goal, tying the match at 1-1 on a long bomb from 25yds out. In the final stages of the match, Ken Tribbett scored the game-winner for the Dragons, a straight-on run in the 85’to steal the win for Drexel.
Tribbett has three goals for the Dragons this season, tying with Nathan Page for the team lead. Page has added three assists this season, giving him a team-high nine points.