PHILADELPHIA – The lone Ivy League team yet to concede a goal in League play, Penn takes to Rhodes Field on Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) in a crucial Ancient Eight match against Dartmouth.
The Quakers (4-6-1, 1-0-1 Ivy) are tied for second in the Ivy League with four points through two matches, while the Big Green (4-2-4, 0-2-0 Ivy) is searching for its first Ivy win of 2013.
For Penn, the unbeaten start to League play related to staunch defense, as the 0.00 goals-against-average in Ivy play suggests. After allowing 17 goals through nine non-conference matches, the Quakers have posted clean sheets in both outings inside the Ivy League – including a 110’ double-overtime draw with Columbia last weekend. As a team, Penn has posted four shutouts this season – last year the Quakers did not record a single clean sheet. Four shutouts in 2013 is the most in a single season since the 2010 side recorded nine during its run to the NCAA Tournament. That season, the Quakers did not concede a goal in Ivy League play until its sixth Ancient Eight match of the season.
The 2010 team recorded five of its nine shutouts at home, one more than the current club has secured on home turf this season.
Tyler Kinn has recorded three of Penn’s shutouts in goal, including the 0-0 draw with Columbia a week ago. He made four saves in that match, two in each half, for his first career Ivy League blanking. Prior to the Columbia match, Max Polkinhorne had started the previous two matches, picking up the win in both – including a 1-0 win over defending League champion, Cornell, to start the Ivy slate. With both keepers entering the weekend riding positive momentum, the Quakers should feel comfortable regardless of who gets the starting nod.
The Quakers have received offensive contributions from a variety of players this season, with 11 different Quakers notching at least one point. Seven different players have scored at least one goal, led by Sam Hayward and Duke Lacroix who each have four. That number is good for a tie for second among Ivy players, Hayward leading all rookies in scoring to this point. As a team, Penn still sits atop the Ivy scoring list with 17 goals – which also puts Penn in the top 25% nationally. Two players the Quakers would like to see get back on the scoring register are Stephen Baker and Alec Neumann. Each has two goals, but hasn’t hit the back to the net since Sept. 15 and Sept. 8, respectively.
After outscoring opponents by a 2-1 margin through the non-conference season, the Big Green has dropped a pair of one-goal games the last two weeks. After a 2-1 loss to Princeton to begin the Ivy slate, the Big Green was edged in double overtime by Yale, 1-0, last weekend. A Bulldog free kick in the 107’ was the deciding factor in a match which featured just 12 total shots between the two sides.
First-year head coach Chad Riley guided his team through an eight-match unbeaten streak to start 2013 before suffering losses each of the last two times out. The Big Green is 3-0-3 at home this season, with just two true road matches to its credit (0-1-1).
Alex Adelabu leads the team with four goals and two assists to this point. The junior forward was a first-team All-Ivy and NSCAA All-Region selection last season after netting nine goals and three assists. In goal, James Hickok and Stefan Cleveland have alternated starts throughout the season. Each has five starts, Hickok starting last weekend against Yale. Each keeper is 2-1-2 this season, Hickok leading with an 0.69 GAA to Cleveland’s 1.18.