PHILADELPHIA – The 2016 season has descended upon the University of Pennsylvania field hockey team as the Quakers are set to host Lehigh and No. 1 North Carolina at Ellen Vagelos Field over Labor Day weekend. The Red and Blue take on the Mountain Hawks at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 2nd and return to host the Tar Heels at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 4th.
Fans will be able to meet the team at a post-game autograph session following the conclusion of each match.
The Series with Lehigh
Friday’s match marks the 15th overall meeting between the two sides with the Quakers holding the upper hand in the all-time series at 12-1-1. The Red and Blue have won the previous three meetings prior to a year hiatus in 2015, but the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of the rivalry have also marked the season opener for Penn. The Quakers last recorded a 9-1 victory over Lehigh in 2014 on Vagelos Field.
The Mountain Hawks (1-1) opened the 2016 campaign going 1-1 during their opening weekend with home contests against Rider and Monmouth. Lehigh tallied a 2-1 win over Rider but suffered a 5-0 loss last Sunday against the Hawks in a shutout. Teresa Carotenuto and Marissa Glatt lead the team with one goal each while goalkeeper Julia Ward has totaled 18 saves in 140 minutes of action for a .750 save percentage.
The Series with UNC
Sunday’s matchup against North Carolina marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools. It’ll also serve as a family reunion for Penn freshman Laura Shelton – her aunt, Karen Shelton, is the head coach of the Tar Heels and has won six NCAA Championships during her run with North Carolina in 34 seasons at the helm.
Top-ranked North Carolina, 2015 NCAA finalists, also come to Penn with a 1-1 overall record. The Tar Heels dropped their season-opener in a close 1-0 loss to 10th-ranked Michigan but rebounded with a 4-1 win over Iowa just a day later. Four players have notched goals for North Carolina while Shannon Johnson and Alex Halpin have split time between the net defending goal.
Get to Know the Quakers
*Penn returns 14 letterwinners and eight starters from a 2015 team that went 13-3 overall and 5-2 in Ivy League action last season. Of the 20 players on the roster in 2016, all 14 upperclassmen have seen collegiate game action.
*Penn returns 69% of their offensive production from a year ago, led by junior Alexa Hoover who notched 63 points and 27 goals during the 2015 season. Seven players alongside Hoover tallied points last year as the Red and Blue return Elise Tilton (5), Gina Guccione (5), Rachel Huang (3) and Sofia Palacios (1) as goal scorers from 2015.
*Hoover set numerous records during an outstanding 2015 campaign including single-season points (63), goals (27) and most goals in a game (5). Additionally, the forward is just four goals away from becoming the all-time leading goal scorer in Penn history and five points away from topping the career points list.
*Hoover and Tilton return as NFHCA All-Region and All-Ivy honorees.
*Hoover ranked second in the NCAA in both goals per game (1.69) and points per game (3.94) last season.
*Nine returners saw action in all 16 games from just a year ago, including starting goalkeeper Liz Mata. Mata made 62 saves in 2015 for a 1.67 goals against average and a 69% save percentage.
*Senior Claire Kneizys figures to anchor the defense as a three year starter; she finished last season with four shots and five assists.
*Kneizys and Tilton will serve as this year’s captains.
*Penn is 19-23-1 all-time in season openers and 3-3 under head coach @Colleen since the 2010 season. Fink has led the Red and Blue to a resurgence since taking the reins of the program six years ago and led the Quakers to a 13-3 overall record and 5-2 mark in Ivy action. The Red and Blue have twice placed second in the Ivy standings and will look to win their first conference title since 2004.