City Weekend For Women's Soccer

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PHILADELPHIA – After an opening weekend that went about as well as could be hoped for, the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team will look to keep the good times rolling this weekend with another pair of games. The Quakers host neighborhood rival Drexel on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. -- a match that will take place at Penn Park -- before “hitting the road” to City Avenue on Sunday for another matchup with a city foe, Saint Joseph’s. That game will kick off at 1 p.m.

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Penn at The Park
You will excuse head coach Darren Ambrose if he has second thoughts about moving back to Rhodes Field once it’s ready for match play. After all, the Quakers have played at Penn Park twice now, and both results have been 4-0 victories. They hope to keep that trend going on Friday!

The Series with Drexel
The Quakers lead the Dragons, 8-1, but that one loss came last year when Drexel pulled out a 1-0 victory on their Vidas Field. Prior to that, the teams had not met since 2004.

About Drexel
The Dragons (3-2-1) split a pair of decisions last weekend, falling to Liberty 3-0 but defeating Longwood 1-0. Drexel’s other wins have come over Marist and UMBC, and the Dragons have tied Villanova. Shyanne Kimbrough had the winner in last Sunday’s victory; it was her team-leading fourth this season. Megan Hammaker and Alyssa Findlay have a goal and an assist this season, while Jess Sarkisian has also scored this season. At the other end, Eve Badana has played every minute in goal for the Dragons; she has a 0.93 goals-against average and a .750 save percentage.

The Series with Saint Joseph’s
The Quakers and the Hawks met for five straight years from 2007-11, with Penn winning four of those games and the teams splitting a 0-0 decision in 2009 (the only other time the Quakers have made the trip to Hawk Hill). Add in a Penn win in 2000, and you have the Red and Blue leading the series 5-0-1.

About SJU
The Hawks (3-1-2) were unbeaten through their first five matches this season, before falling to Liberty 3-0 last Sunday. Emily Gingrich leads SJU with four goals, while Mo Hawkins has two. Three other women have scored once. In goal, expect to see Lauren Jancuska. Before Sunday’s matchup with Penn, Saint Joseph’s will host Loyola (Md.) on Friday night.

About Penn
*Penn is 25-8-2 overall in the last two-plus seasons after last weekend’s season-opening wins, and 29-9-4 over its last 42 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 42 matches, Penn has allowed just 26 goals and posted 25 shutouts.

*So much for starting later than the rest of the country being a disadvantage; last weekend’s wins also got Penn off to a 2-0-0 start for the third straight season and the fourth time in five campaigns.

*Not only did Penn win both games last weekend, they did so in record fashion. The Quakers’ combined 8-0 margin of victory was a season best, topping the previous mark of a combined 6-0 margin set by the 1998 squad. (That 1998 squad went on to win its third, fourth and fifth games by 4-0 margins each, and had seven shutouts to start the campaign—so there is work to do for this year’s team!)

*Perhaps most impressive in Penn’s wins last weekend was the fact that seven different women scored, and 13 recorded a point. The only multi-goal scorer was freshman defender Tahirih Nesmith.

*Senior Kerry Scalora had a goal and two assists in the season-opening win, and is tied with Nesmith for the team lead with four points. Another senior, Kathryn Barth, had a goal and an assist against Saint Peter’s.

*Late in the Saint Peter’s match, Nikoletta Georgalis -- a junior walk-on from the track team -- came into the match for Penn to make her collegiate debut; mere minutes after that, she scored her first collegiate goal.

*It was an all-class affair against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday as senior Brianna Rano, junior Megan York and sophomore Elissa Berdini joined the freshman Nesmith on the goal-scoring ledger.

*Penn outshot Saint Peter’s and The Mount by a combined 45-4 on the weekend, so the goalkeepers were not too busy. That said, sophomore Kalijah Terilli -- who played the first half vs. SPC and the second against MSM -- was tested in both games and came up with solid saves. Junior Katherine Myhre played the other half in both matches and was not called on to make a save.

*Penn returns two women who earned All-Ivy honors last year, seniors Scalora (first-team forward) and Rano (second-team defender). Scalora was also the 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year.

*Barth, meanwhile, was a second-team All-Ivy and second-team NSCAA all-region selection two years ago, as a sophomore.

*Scalora led Penn in scoring last year, tallying four goals and three assists for 11 points. Two other returning players, Barth and sophomore Erin Mikolai, had three goals apiece.

*In addition to Mikolai, another sophomore to keep an eye on up front is Berdini. She had two goals and two assists last season.

*Three other returning players scored twice last year: senior Claire Walker -- who is a captain of this year’s team with Scalora and Rano -- and the juniors Kaitlyn Moore and Clara Midgley.

*Moore will step into the middle of the park, looking to replace the graduated Erin Beck. Another returning candidate for that position is senior Laura Oliver.

*Penn lost its two central defenders from a year ago, All-Ivy pick Alex Dayneka and Erin Thayer. On the other hand, sophomores Caroline Dwyer and Jazmyne Simmons are two women who saw lots of time in the backfield along with Rano last year. Cooper also has experience.