PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team hits the home stretch of the Ivy League schedule this Saturday, traveling to Yale to face the Bulldogs at 5:30 p.m. After a 2-1 loss at Dartmouth last Saturday, the Quakers are tied for second place in the standings with the Big Green; both teams are a game behind Princeton and a half-game ahead of fourth-place Harvard.
The Series with Yale: The Bulldogs lead the series, 12-6-4, but the Quakers are 3-1-1 in the last five meetings including a 2-0 decision last year in Philadelphia and a 1-0 win two years ago in New Haven. Prior to that, the 2006 and 2008 meetings in New Haven were scoreless draws.
About Yale: The Bulldogs (6-6-0, 1-3-0 Ivy) got out of the Ivy League basement last weekend, defeating Cornell 1-0 on a Big Red own goal. Kristen Forster, the 2009 co-Ivy League Rookie of the Year, leads Yale with 15 points (6g, 3a), while Muriel Battaglia has three goals. Melissa Gavin, the Ivy Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy forward a year ago, and Mary Kubiuk have scored twice each. In goal, Rachel Ames had the shutout last weekend at Cornell; she has a 1.11 goals-against average and a .810 save percentage.
Around the Ivy League: Saturday will see six of the eight teams in action, as Dartmouth (3-1-0) is at Columbia (2-2-0) at 4 p.m. and Harvard (2-1-1) tries to stay in the race with a game at Princeton (4-0-0) at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Cornell (0-3-1) and Brown (0-4-0) will face off in Providence at 3 p.m.
*The Quakers' 2-1 loss at Dartmouth snapped a program-best nine-match unbeaten streak in Ivy League play (8-0-1); in its last 20 Ivy matches going back to 2009, Penn is 14-3-3.
*Penn is 21-7-2 overall since the start of last season, and 25-8-4 over its last 37 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 37 matches, Penn has allowed just 22 goals.
*Junior Kerry Scalora had Penn's goal at Dartmouth; she has figured in all of Penn's last four Ivy League tallies, scoring three of them and assisting the fourth. She leads Penn with 11 points (4g, 3a).
*Erin Mikolai, a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, is second on the team with three goals, while juniors Kathryn Barth, Kaitlyn Moore and Claire Walker and freshman Elissa Berdini have scored twice each.
*Junior Brianna Rano leads the Quakers with four assists, while senior Erin Beck has three and is tied for second in that category with Scalora.
*Moore certainly had Penn's most dramatic goal this season -- her tally against Harvard on Sept. 21 came with just 3.9 seconds left in regulation.
*Senior Sarah Banks has started all 13 games in goal for Penn, combining for 39 saves while allowing 12 goals. She has been bolstered by a veteran defense in front of her that includes Rano and seniors Erin Thayer and Alex Dayneka along with freshmen Jazmyne Simmons and Caroline Dwyer.
*Sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Myhre saw her first game action of 2012, replacing Banks after the senior was injured on the play where Boise State scored in the Broncos' 1-0 win on Sept. 23 at Rhodes Field. In 36 minutes of action, she was not called upon to make a save.
*Seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall return this year from last year's historic squad, which went 14-2-1 overall including a 5-1-1 mark in the Ivy League (good for second place behind Harvard). Penn is 12-2-3 in its last 17 Ivy League matches going back to 2009.
*Penn's overtime win at Sacramento State on Sept. 16 was its first in extra time since Oct. 30, 2010 -- coincidentally, also a 3-2 decision, this time over Brown. All-time, Penn is 9-9-35 in overtime matches.
*Penn's captains for 2012 are Beck -- a second-year captain -- along with Dayneka and Walker.
*Penn returns three All-Ivy players from a year ago, two first-teamers in Beck and senior goalkeeper Banks. Barth was a second-team selection in 2011.
*In addition, Penn figures to be bolstered by the return of Scalora. The 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year and second-team All-Ivy was injured in the Quakers' sixth game a year ago and missed the remainder of the season.
*Penn returns three of its top four scorers from a year ago in Barth (8g, 8a), sophomore Megan York (5g, 1a) and sophomore Callan Parra (4g, 2a). Yet another sophomore, Clara Midgley, scored four goals.
*Banks started 16 of Penn's 17 matches last year, allowing just five goals for a 0.42 goals-against average that was among the national leaders.
Last year's team put up some staggering numbers including...
*The best record in program history by percentage (14-2-1, .853).
*The 14 wins tied for most in program history (also 1997) and the two losses tied for fewest in program history (also 2001).
*An eight-match win streak, longest in program history (previous record six).
*The team allowed just seven goals all season, a program record (previous mark 13), and scored 39 goals which was tied for second-most in program history (also 2001).
*Penn posted 13 shutouts in 17 matches, setting a program record and leading the nation at the NCAA Division I level in shutout percentage (.765).
*Penn finished last year third nationally in goals-against average (0.41), sixth in win percentage (.853), and seventh in save percentage (.887).