Field Hockey Gears Up for Tough Test to Start Season

PHILADELPHIA – Ready or not, field hockey season starts on Saturday for Penn. Despite being in camp for just eight days the Quakers travel down I-95 to the University of Delaware on Saturday and Sunday to play in the Blue Hen Classic. Penn takes on Syracuse on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Ohio State on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

This season the Quakers have to replace Lea Salese, Kristen Gray and Cara Calahan, who accounted for 20 of Penn’s 28 goals in 2005. Penn will look to make up for that with a deep midfield and an experienced backfield. Nyssa Liebermann, Kelsey Nickles and Tracy Statter will be counted on for their experience in the midfield, while goalkeeper Elizabeth Schlossberg will lead the defense. A first-team All-Ivy selection last season, Schlossberg led the League with five shutouts and a 1.32 goals against average.

“Camp has been very intense and everyone is exhausted, but they’re holding up and working hard,” said head coach Val Cloud. “We’re playing two quality teams this weekend, and I expect us to play well and capitalize on the offensive end.”

On Friday, the Red and Blue take on Syracuse (0-1) who lost to Central Michigan 2-1 on Aug. 27. Michelle Sola scored the lone goal for the Orange. Although not ranked, Syracuse did receive votes in the preseason STX/NFHCA Coaches Poll. The Orange are picked to finish third in the BIG EAST and are led by Sola and goalkeeper Heather Hess, who were preseason All-BIG EAST selections.

Ohio State (1-0) opened its season on Aug. 26 with a 4-2 win at Boston College. If Syracuse is not enough of a test, the No. 15 Buckeyes certainly will be – Ohio State returns two All-Americans in Yesenia Luces and Saskia Mueller on a team that went 15-7 and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2005.

Click here for live stats on this weekends games.

Some notes on the Quakers as they start the 2006 season ...

• Penn returns seven starters and 13 letterwinners from last season.

• Of the Red and Blue’s seven returning starters, six played in all 17 games.

• The Quakers graduated 65 percent of their point total in Lea Salese, Kristen Gray and Cara Calahan.

• Penn returns one All-Ivy player in goalkeeper Elizabeth Schlossberg.

• Schlossberg led the Ivy League with five shutouts and a 1.32 goals against average, which was also eighth best in the counrty.

• Schlossberg recorded a season-high 10 saves at Maryland (9/21); she registered six saves in five other games.

• The Quakers finished last season eighth in the country in scoring defense at 1.28 goals per game.

• Penn allowed a league-low 3.41 points per game last season.

• The Red and Blue ranked second in the Ancient Eight to Cornell in shot percentage (.184) and shot-on-goal percentage

(.579).

• The Quakers allowed a measly 4.94 shots on goal per game last season, best in the Ivy League.

• Meghan Rose tied for eighth in the league with .35 assists per game in 2005.

• Penn outscored its opponents 13-9 in the first half last season.

•Tracy Statter tallied a team-high four points in the Quakers’ 3-2 win over No. 15 Villanova (9/28).

• Defensively, the Red and Blue did not allow a shot on goal at Harvard (9/10) and twice allowed just one shot on goal last season.

•Penn attempted a season-high 19 shots twice and went 2-0 in those games.