PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team returns to action this Friday and Sunday when they take on LIU-Brooklyn and Saint Joseph’s for the continuation of their non-conference schedule. Game time versus the Blackhawks is slated for 3:30 p.m. at Ellen Vagelos Field on Friday, September 9th while the Quakers and Hawks will square-off at Noon on Sunday, September 11th in Merion Station, Pa.
The Series with LIU-Brooklyn
Friday’s match marks the first-ever meeting between the two sides with LIU-Brooklyn in just their first season of NCAA competition. The Quakers have a 43-year head start on the visiting Blackhawks in collegiate competition but will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline – LIU assistant coach Kyle DeSandes-Moyer is a 2013 Penn field hockey graduate and was the 2011 winner of the Diane Angstadt Award.
An extremely young squad, the Blackhawks feature an all-freshmen roster in their first season of NCAA competition. They began their year on the road and opened with a pair of losses to Davidson (L, 8-1) and Appalachian State (L, 8-1). Skai Sprenkle notched the first goal in program history while Shelly Drucker has been the primary netminder in cage through two games. Casey Carrigan tallied the lone score vs. Appalachian State.
The Series with Saint Joseph’s
Sunday’s matchup against Saint Joseph’s will mark the 21st overall meeting between the two sides with Penn holding the 13-7 advantage in series history. Penn claimed the last two outings in 2013 and 2015 and looks to make it a third to match a three-year win streak last met in 2003-05. The contest also marks a return home to the alma mater of head coach Colleen Fink and assistant coaches Katelyn O'Brien and Liz Messaros all of whom are Hawk graduates.
About Saint Joseph’s
The Hawks are 3-1 on the young season and are on a three-game win streak following victories over Temple, Bucknell and Villanova. Their lone loss of the season came at the heels of then-No. 6 Maryland in their 2016 opener. Anna Willocks leads the team with 13 points via six goals and one assist while 10 players have tallied points. In goal, Victoria Kammerinke and Amelia Diebler have split time in net and have combined for a .741 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average.
Get to Know the Quakers
*Junior Gina Guccione and sophomore Sofia Palacios are both off to terrific starts on the young season and have each notched two goals apiece through two games. Guccione had both scores in a 2-0 win over Lehigh while Palacios led the Quaker effort in a 6-2 loss to then-No. 1 North Carolina.
*Freshman Alexa Schneck started in both contests vs. Lehigh and UNC to open her collegiate career and was named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll following her performances. Palacios joined her for the weekly laurels as announced by the conference office on Monday.
*The Quakers are 1-1 to start the season for the third-straight year and for the 18th time in program history dating back to 1973.
*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 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.
*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.
*Kneizys and Tilton will serve as this year’s captains.