PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team hosts No. 9 Princeton (12-4) Saturday, in a Homecoming Weekend match with Ivy League title implications. With a win Penn (13-3) would clinch a share of the Ivy League title for the first time since 2004. Four seniors will be honored this weekend before playing their last home match as Quakers. Accompanying Senior Day activities before the match will be a brunch and dedication of the new Ellen Vagelos Field. Penn and Princeton will face off at 12:05 p.m., moved from the originally scheduled start time.
Directions to Ellen Vagelos Field
Saturday's game will be the last home game for four women: Amelia Cohen, Katie Harrington, Sunny Stirewalt and Julie Tahan. (The program will also recognize senior non-players Christina Benvenuti and Madeleine Czufin.) It has been quite a ride for this group, which joined the program just as current head coach Colleen Fink was establishing herself as Penn's new mentor. Their freshman year, the team went 3-14 overall and just 1-6 in Ivy League play. Their sophomore year, Penn went 4-13, 2-5 in the Ivies. They stuck with it, though, and last year helped the the Quakers to their first winning record since 2006 (9-8). This season, they have led Penn to 13 wins for just the third time in program history, and on Saturday they take the field with the chance to earn a share of the Ivy League championship. We wish our seniors well in their future endeavors!
Around the Ivies This Weekend
Penn (5-1) and Princeton (6-0) face off in the pinnacle matchup for the Ivy League title in Philadelphia. The battle for third-place in the league will become clearer after the weekend with Cornell (3-3) facing off against Dartmouth (3-3), and Yale (3-3) hosting Brown (1-5) on Saturday. Harvard (1-5) will travel to Columbia (2-6) on Sunday, wrapping up league play for the season.
The Series with Princeton
In 2013, Penn will be looking to turn a new page in its series with Princeton. The Quakers aim to break an eight year losing streak against the Princeton, in which they have not scored a goal in a match since 2007. Penn has only been victorious in one matchup again the Tigers since 1993, dating back 20 years. The victory came in 2004, 2-1 at Princeton, the last year the Quakers clinched a share of the Ivy League championship (tied with Harvard). Princeton holds the all-time series edge 22-15-3.
The defending Division I national champion Tigers are looking for their ninth straight Ivy League championship on Saturday against Penn. Ranked ninth in the country, Princeton is looking for its seventh straight victory. The Tigers’ last loss came on October 11 at No. 1 Maryland, 3-1. Leading the way for Princeton is senior Michelle Cesan, who has collected 24 points and eight assists. She is tied with sophomore Teresa Benvenuti for the team lead in goals (8). Benvenuti is second to Cesan in points (23) and assists (7). Sophomore goalkeeper Anya Gersoff has started 10 of 16 games and has a .732 save percentage.
*At 13-3, Penn has reached a double-digit win total for the first time since the 2004 team went 13-4; that team shared the Ivy League title with Harvard.
*After tying the program record for goals in a season last year, with 42, the Quakers have already shattered the mark this year with 56 goals in 16 games. Penn enters the weekend seventh nationally in goals per game (3.50) and 10th in points per game (9.06). The Quakers lead the Ivy League in both categories.
*Last weekend Penn defeated Brown 4-0 on the strength of two goals from freshman Jasmine Cole and a goal each from junior Emily Corcoran and sophomore Elizabeth Hitti. Corcoran also added an assist, while junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach made six saves on the afternoon. Cole and Corcoran were named to the Ivy League Honor Roll for the week of November 4.
*Sports Illustrated featured Jasmine Cole in its ‘Faces in the Crowd’ feature this past week. Cole, who has been Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice and co-Ivy League Player of the Week once this season, enters the weekend leading Penn, the Ivy League and the nation in goals per game (1.13). She is sixth in the nation and tied for first in the Ivy League in points per game (2.44).
*Cole already has two hat tricks in her collegiate career; it took her four games to do it. The first one came at Saint Joseph’s, and the second one came in her Ivy League debut against Cornell.
*Emily Corcoran enters the weekend third in the Ivy League and 12th nationally in points per game (2.19), 20th nationally in goals per game (0.81), and 21st nationally, first in the Ivy League, in assists per game (0.56).
*Corcoran was named Ivy League Player of the Week and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week on October 15. She earned the award by recording three goals -- one an overtime game-winner -- and three assists in non-conference wins over Rider and UMass Lowell.
*Corcoran was the third different Penn player to earn the Ivy honor this season (also Cole and Sokach). Amazingly, the last time the Quakers had three different women earn Ivy Player of the Week honors was 1988 (Nicky Hitchens, Sue Donohue, Ellen Vagelos).
*Penn has gone to overtime four times this season, winning three of them (Dartmouth and Rider in OT, Yale in shootout). Corcoran has scored the winner in both games that Penn won in OT.
*Sophomore Elizabeth Hitti started the scoring at Brown, scoring her fifth goal of the year. On September 28, Hitti scored the only goal in Penn’s 1-0 win at Harvard, a nice homecoming for the Massachusetts resident. She has 12 points (5g, 2a).
*Junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach enters the weekend ranked 11th nationally in save percentage (.781) and 17th in saves per game (6.69). She is second among Ivy goalies save percentage and third in saves per game. After blanking Brown on November 2, Sokach has recorded five shutout victories in 2013, the most in the Ivy League.
*Sokach was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week on Tuesday October 29, following a performance against Yale that included tying a career high with 15 saves (without allowing a goal) and then stopping four of five shootout efforts after the game was still tied following two overtimes. On the last 1-on-1, she tripped the Yale player, then stopped the ensuing penalty stroke to clinch Penn’s win.
*The game against Yale marked Sokach’s sixth double-digit-save games this season. She also had 11 in a 2-1 loss at Bucknell; 12 in a 4-3 win against Cornell; 12 in a shutout win at Harvard; 11 in a loss to Lafayette; and 12 in the OT win at Rider.
*Senior Julie Tahan recorded an assist against Brown last weekend. She is 34th nationally in assists per game (0.50) and now has 16 points on the season (4g, 8a). Tahan was on the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll on October 22; she scored a goal at Columbia, then added a goal and an assist vs. App State.
*Freshman forward Elise Tilton, was the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on October 8 after scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of Penn’s 5-4 overtime win against Dartmouth; the goals erased a 4-2 deficit and got the Quakers to OT.
*After scoring twice against Appalachian State on October 20, Tilton has 10 goals and 21 points this season.
*Junior defender MaryRose Croddick, who sets most of Penn’s penalty corners at the top of the circle, has three assists this season.
*It has been nice to see junior Alex Iqbal get back onto the score sheet in recent games; she has three assists this season. Iqbal was an All-Ivy performer as a freshman, but missed all of last year due to an injury.
*Tahan and Croddick were second-team All-Ivy players a year ago; both are back this season.