PHILADLEPHIA - For the seven members of Penn men's soccer senior class, there have been 32 previous matches on Rhodes Field, but Saturday's tilt with Harvard (5 p.m.) will be the final regular-season match on home field.
Over their four years competing for Penn, the seven seniors -- Zach Barnett, Ben Berg, Jason Gorskie, Tobi Olopade, Aaron Ross, Steven Schlaefer and Loukas Tasigianis -- have compiled a four-year record at home of 19-8-5, including their best home season this year with a 6-2-0 mark heading into Saturday's match with the Crimson.
Two years ago, the Quakers and Crimson met at Rhodes Field with the Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament automatic bid on the line. Penn came through with a 1-0 win in overtime on a goal from current senior Loukas Tasigianis in the 95th minute.
This Saturday, a potential Ivy title is at stake for the Quakers as a win gives Penn a chance to share the title with Princeton if the Tigers lose at Yale. The Ivy crown would be the eighth in program history and make the seniors and juniors part of an exclusive club of Penn groups to win multiple Ivy titles, joining the classes of 1973, 1974 and 1975 who were on back-to-back title teams in 1971 and '72.
The Quakers have won 12 matches in 2010 - tied for the fourth-most by a team in Penn history. A win on Saturday will move the 2010 club into a tie for second-most with the 1971 and 1973 teams. The 1972 edition has the all-time mark of 14 wins in a season.
The 2010 Quaker team is also high on Penn's all-time Ivy League wins chart. The five wins in 2010 are tied for third along with eight other clubs on the single-season conference win chart. A victory over the Crimson places the 2010 Quakers second with the '72 team behind the 1971 team - the only 7-0-0 Penn team in history.
In addition to a potential Ivy title and rankings among the all-time greats at Penn, there is possible NCAA Tournament placement at stake for the Quakers on Saturday. The 12-4-0 regular season, No. 18 national ranking and No. 21 RPI have Penn in great position for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. A win over Harvard will help secure that berth and keep Penn's hope for a national seed or home match in the first round alive.
To keep pace, the Quakers must deal with a Harvard club that has struggled of late, but is still a dangerous unit. The Crimson are 4-7-5 overall in 2010 and 1-3-2 in Ivy League play. Harvard has lost its last four matches, and hasn't won in six contests. The Crimson have played a challenging schedule in 2010, with five matches against Top 20 teams - and a 1-2-2 record in those outings. The season started with a 2-1 win over then-No. 13 Stanford before losses to No. 20 Boston College and No. 23 Princeton sandwiched around ties with No. 10 UConn and No. 15 Brown. The Crimson have often found themselves in low-scoring affairs, with 15 goals for to 19 goals against and only two matches with two or more goals in their favor. With the low team scoring numbers, the team-high in points is held by Brian Rogers with his 4-1-9 line.
No. 18 Penn (12-4-0,
5-1- o Ivy) vs. Harvard (4-7-5, 1-3-2
Saturday, November 13 - 5 p.m. - Rhodes Field
All-Time Series: Harvard leads, 35-31-5
Last Meeting: No.
9 Harvard 1, Penn 0 - Nov. 15, 2009 in Cambridge
Austin Harms was called upon to make just two saves en route to the shutout as Harvard blanked Penn, 1-0, in Cambridge. Richard Smith scored in the 68th minute for the Crimson, tipping in a Tim Linden cross. The Crimson had plenty of chances, out-numbering Penn on corners, 10-1. With the win, Harvard claimed the 2009 Ivy League title.
Notes on Penn: The Quakers are 6-2-0 at home this season ... Penn has outscored opponents 25-10 this season ... Steven Baker's 18 points in 2010 are the most in a season by a Quaker since Omid Shokoufandeh's 22 in 2008 and the fourth-most since 1991 ...He is the first freshman to lead the Quakers in scoring since Mike Klein did so with 12 points in 2005.
Notes on Harvard: The Crimson are 2-3-4 away from Cambridge in 2010 ... No Harvard player has more than 10 points, and the team leader is Brian Rogers with nine points (4-1-9) ... Austin Harms is 3-6-4 in goal with three shutouts ... He has 16 career shutouts, second-most by a Harvard keeper.