PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team is looking to get back on track this weekend with home games at Ellen Vagelos Field against Ivy opponent Columbia on Saturday, and non-conference foe Longwood on Sunday.
On Saturday, Penn and Columbia will be participating in a Play4theCure game, helping raise funds specifically for breast cancer research and pediatric cancer (Osteosarcoma). The team will be wearing pink to support the cancer research and all fans are invited to participate as well in wearing pink to show their support. The field hockey programwill be collecting donations at the entrance of Vagelos Field, for those that wish to contribute, with all donationsgoing to the National Foundation of Cancer Research in thePenn Field Hockey team name.
The Quakers (4-6, 1-2 Ivy) and Lions square off at 12 p.m. in an Ancient Eight game that sees Columbia enter the matchup tied for second place in the league with a 2-1 record and 8-4 overall mark. The Lions have won two straight games entering Saturday – against Towson and Massachusetts.
On Sunday beginning at 12 p.m., the Quakers will host Longwood (5-9, 1-3 MAC) from Farmville, Virginia. Penn and the Lancers have had one common opponent thus far – Liberty. The Red and Blue fell to the Flames, 3-2, while Longwood was defeated, 8-1.
Both games this weekend will be available live on the Ivy League Digital Network, click here to watch.
SCOUTING COLUMBIA: The Lions come into the game against Penn leading the Ivy League in goals scored, with 37, averaging 3.1 goals per game. Columbia is led offensively by league leader Zoe Blake with 11 goals, and sophomore Katie Ruesterholz tied for third in the league with nine goals. Junior Christina Freibott leads the country in assists per game, with 1.50, and has 18 total for the season. She was named Ivy League Player of the Week this past weekend for her play against Towson and UMass. Defensively, the Lions goalkeeper, junior Kimberly Pianucci, has played 644 minutes with 45 saves and a 2.28 goals allowed average. Senior defender Lauren Skudalski is third in the country with six defensive saves.
THE SERIES WITH COLUMBIA: Penn is 10-8 overall in its matchup with the Lions, but has lost the last three meetings. The last two meetings have been decided in overtime, with the Quakers falling last season 4-3 at Columbia, and in 2012, 3-2, at home. Of the 18 games played between the two schools, seven games have gone into overtime.
SCOUTING LONGWOOD: The Lancers compete in the Mid-American Conference in field hockey and have scored 25 goals this season on offense, while allowing 37 goals defensively. Longwood is led by junior Jennifer Burris, who has scored eight goals, with five assists for 21 points this year. Junior Hollie MacDonald is second on the team with five goals, while freshman Lil-Sophie Actherwinter has two goals and three assists. In goal, sophomore Lauren Bernard has played all but four minutes during the season, making 61 saves, and has a 2.47 goals against average.
THE SERIES WITH LONGWOOD: Penn field hockey began competing as a varsity sport in 1973 and Longwood’s program began in 1972, but the game on Sunday will be the Quakers and Lancers first ever contest.
TOP FIVE IVY SCORERS: Saturday’s contest between Penn and Columbia features four of the top five leading scorers in the Ivy League. The Lions’ Zoe Blake leads the league with 11 goals, and her teammate Katie Ruesterholz is tied for third place with the Penn’s Alexa Hoover, with nine goals each. Just one goal behind sits Quaker senior Emily Corcoran, who is tied for fifth in the league with eight goals.
HOW THE SCORING RANKS NATIONALLY: Blake and Hoover rank in the top 20 nationally in goals per game. Both are averaging just under a goal per game, with Blake ranked 12th (0.92) and Hoover 16th (0.90). One more Ivy League individual in the top 20 is Cornell’s Marisa Siergiej, tied for 13th with a 0.91 average.
ASSISTING THE OFFENSE FOR PENN: The Quakers leading two-prong scoring attack of Hoover and Corcoran has seen a multitude of individuals involved. Penn enters the weekend with 21 assists from seven different players – Elizabeth Hitti (5), Alex Iqbal (4), MaryRose Croddick (4), Emily Corcoran (3), Alexa Hoover (2), Claire Kneizys (3), and Elise Tilton (1).
PULLING TOGETHER ON DEFENSE: After one of its rougher outings against Maryland, Penn’s defense continues to work on strengthening and improving its defense. In the first seven games of the season Penn had allowed just 11 goals, but has allowed 18 goals in the last three games. Freshman goalkeeper Liz Mata saw her first last week against Monmouth and senior goalkeeper Allison Weisenfels had put up good number in the first half of the season before the Maryland game. Weisenfels has made 51 saves, including 10 against the Terrapins, and has a 2.70 goals against average.
IVY LEAGUE HONOR ROLL: Alexa Hoover was on the league honor roll this week for her contributions against Monmouth and Maryland. The freshman scored her ninth goal in the defeat to Monmouth, and recorded three shots on goal against the Terrapins. She totaled 10 shots, nine on goal, in the two contests.