Field Hockey Gears Up for First Ivy Contest

PHILADELPHIA - Penn field hockey takes on Cornell in the first Ivy League game of the 2009 season Friday at 5 p.m. on Franklin Field.

With a 2-3 record the Quakers are coming off a reasonably successful weekend at the Sheraton Catamount Classic in Burlington Vt. Penn went 1-1, defeating Vermont 1-0, but then fell to a tough New Hampshire team 3-2 in a hard fought and well played game. Penn aims to continue their progress with a strong showing against Ivy foe Cornell.

Historically speaking, the Quakers lead the all-time series with Cornell with a 21-10-2 overall record. However, Cornell has won three of the last four meetings, including last year when Penn lost 3-1 on September 20, 2008.

Rather than relying on individual dominance, Penn's offense has been created through team play and unrelenting defense that has led to break-aways on the scoring end. Interestingly, in every game this season Penn's scoring has been done by one player -Monmouth (Sarah Warner 1g), VCU (Kelsey Tahan 1g), SJU (Annie Matthews 2g), UVM (Abigail Egan 1g), and UNH (Kirstin Snyder 2g).

Defensively, the Quakers have faced a lot of action, being outshot 66-41 by their opponents this season. The opposition also holds a 37-14 penalty corner advantage. Keeper Kieran Sweeney has played every minute in the cage through five games, making 25 saves.

Penn's defense will likely have their hands full with Cornell. The Big Red has dictated the offensive end so far, outscoring their opponents 14-3 with a 91-16 shot advantage. Their 40 penalty corners have them averaging 22.8 shots per game. Senior Kelley Kantarian leads Cornell, netting four goals this season, including the game-winning one in the Big Red's 2-1 overtime victory over Lock Haven last Saturday. With Cornell having control of the ball for the majority of the games, they have kept the opposition to one goal or less per game.