PHILADELPHIA - Penn field hockey hosts a pair of games at Franklin Field this weekend to open its 2012 season.
• The Quakers will take on Lehigh on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Lehigh lost to Ball State (4-3 OT) and Liberty (1-0) at home last weekend in the Mountain Hawks' first outings of the year.
• Penn will return to Franklin Field on Sunday, Sept. 2 for a tilt with Towson (0-2). The Tigers dropped their first two games of the season as well, losing to Sacred Heart (3-1) and Quinnipiac (3-1).
• Both games are free to the public. Live stats will be available at PennAthletics.com.
CLOSER LOOK AT THE QUAKERS
• Junior Julie Tahan returns to lead the Quaker offense in 2012. Tahan led Penn in goals (6), assists (8) and points (20) last season.
• Penn will also look for contributions from sophomores Helene Caniglia (4g, 2a) and Emily Corcoran (2,2) and senior Sarah Hasson (2,1).
• Sophomore goalie Carly Sokach takes over for Kieran Sweeney, who graduated in 2012. Sokach saw action in three games last season, ending 2011 with a .607 save percentage.
• Sokach's defense will be anchored by All-Ivy honorable mention MaryRose Croddick and senior captain Mandy Epstein. Both started every game last season and combined for five defensive saves.
2011 IN REVIEW
• The Penn field hockey team enjoyed more improvement during the 2011 season under Head Coach Colleen Fink, increasing both its overall and Ivy League win total.
• Two Quakers garnered All-Ivy honors: Alex Iqbal (second team) and MaryRose Croddick (honorable mention).
• Iqbal finished her first season at Penn with five goals and two assists for 12 points - the highest total for a Penn freshman since the 1983 season.
• Penn looks to build on experience this year as 11 of 15 letterwinners return for 2012. Five of the returning Quakers started all 17 games, while 11 players saw action in at least 12 games last season.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
• Junior Julie Tahan and senior Mandy Epstein were named captains for this season. Both started every game in 2011.
SIX NEWCOMERS JOIN THE RANKS
• Third-year Head Coach Colleen Fink welcomes a six-player freshman class for the 2012 season.
• The talented group is made up of Alex Agathis (Bedminster, N.J.), Emily Guthier (Jamison, Pa.), Lauren Hunter (Hightown, N.J.), Elizabeth Hitti (Ashland, Mass.), Megan Johnston (Haddonfield, N.J.) and Neela Mahanty (Chapel Hill, N.C.).
SERIES VS. LEHIGH
• Penn is 9-1-1 all time against Lehigh. The schools renewed their rivalry last season after not meeting since 1999.
• The Quakers have outscored Lehigh 33-6 in the 11-game series.
• Julie Tahan recorded her first multi-goal game at Penn with two goals against Lehigh last season. Sarah Hasson added the third.
• The Mountain Hawks won last year's contest 4-3.
• The Mountain Hawks are coming off a 6-13 season in 2011. Lehigh went 3-2 in Patriot League play, making its third Patriot League tournament in five years before losing to eventual finalist Bucknell.
• Lehigh returns only one of its three top scorers from last season: All-Patriot League first team selection Kimberly Eng (10g).
• Between the pipes, junior goalie Sierra Segear was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year after leading the league in saves and save percentage. She was also voted NFHCA All-Mideast Region Second Team.
• Stacey Blue enters her second season as Lehigh's head coach after guiding the Mountain Hawks to their best record since 2007.
SERIES VS. TOWSON
• This will mark the second game in history for Penn and Towson.
• The Quakers and Tigers began their series last year in Maryland.
• Julie Tahan scored the lone goal in last year's defensive battle. Towson won 2-1.
• Towson ended 2011 at 10-10 and advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association tournament for the first time since 2008.
• The Tigers lost their top two scorers from 2011 and will rely on seniors Janine Kovach and Kasie Nurko for offense. Both had five goals and one assist last season.
• Tashani Dickinson will replace senior Christina Siweic in goal. Dickinson played in three games last year, making one save.
• Sixth-year head coach Michelle Webber welcomes back 15 letterwinners from the 2011 squad.
•The Quakers will head down to Virginia next weekend for games against Liberty (Sept. 8) and Appalachian State (Sept. 9).