PHILADELPHIA – Off to its best start since 1997 at 5-1, the University of Pennsylvania field hockey team will look to continue its winning ways when it travels to Harvard this weekend. Both the Quakers and the Crimson will be looking to stay unbeaten through the league’s second weekend.
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The Series with Harvard
The Quakers and the Crimson have met 36 times previously, with Harvard holding a 20-14-2 lead in the series. Last year, Penn defeated Harvard 4-3 at Franklin Field behind five points from Sarah Hasson; in fact, the Quakers have four wins in this matchup since 2006.
The Crimson (2-2, 1-0 Ivy League) has won two in a row heading into the weekend, against Holy Cross and Yale, and has not played in a week. Freshman Sarah Finnemore leads Harvard in scoring, with three goals, while Noel Painter has two goals and an assist. Marissa Balleza, Elizabeth Jacobson and Kaitlyn Boudah have also scored for the Crimson. Junior midfielder Caitlin Rea was a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago. In goal, Jenn Hatfield has started every game and boasts a 1.75 goals-against average and a .774 save percentage.
*At 5-1, Penn is off to its best start since the 1997 team was also 5-1. If the Quakers beat Harvard, they will be 6-1 for the first time since 1993. (Penn’s 1994 team was 5-1-1 after seven games en route to a 7-1-1 start.)
*Last year the Quakers tied a program record for goals in a season, with 42. They are well on their way toward giving that mark a run this year, with 25 goals in their first six games.
*Freshman Jasmine Cole already has two hat tricks in her collegiate career; it took her four games to do it. The first one came at Saint Joseph’s, and the second one came last Saturday in her Ivy League debut against Cornell.
*Cole -- who leads Penn and the Ivy League with nine goals this season -- was named the co-Ivy League Player of the Week and the Ivy League Rookie of the Week, primarily on the strength of her performance against the Big Red.
*Junior Emily Corcoran has also been on fire, with two goals in each of Penn’s last two games (Pacific, La Salle). She put eight shots on goal against the Explorers Wednesday. Corcoran has seven goals and three assists for 17 points, one behind Cole.
*Another freshman, Elise Tilton, scored twice in a 23-second span last Sunday vs. Pacific; she is third on the team with five goals.
*Senior Julie Tahan is fourth on the team with seven points (2g, 3a), while sophomore Elizabeth Hitti is right behind her with six points (2g, 2a).
*It was good to see junior Alex Iqbal get on the score sheet last Sunday against Pacific; she assisted on a goal for her first point of 2013. Iqbal was an All-Ivy performer as a freshman, but missed all of last year due to an injury.
*Junior defender MaryRose Croddick also gained her first point of 2013, with an assist against Cornell, while senior Sunny Stirewalt had her second point of the season, an assist, against Pacific.
*Junior Carly Sokach has played every minute in goal this season; she was magnificent against Bucknell (11 saves, 2 goals) and Cornell (12 saves, 3 goals). She then collected her first shutout of 2013 Sunday against Pacific.
*Overall, Sokach has a .750 save percentage this season; however, in the last four games that number shoots up to .800. Her goals-against average for the 2013 campaign is 2.17.
*Tahan and Croddick were second-team All-Ivy players a year ago; both are back this season. Hitti, meanwhile, received honorable mention despite being a freshman. The team also welcomes back Iqbal, who was an All-Ivy honoree in 2011 as a freshman but missed all of last year due to injury.
*Tahan and Iqbal are this year’s captains. In addition to Tahan, the other seniors are Stirewalt, Amelia Cohen and Katie Harrington.
Penn is back home two times next week, hosting Lafayette on Wednesday (4 p.m.) and Dartmouth on Sunday (11 a.m.) in the next two games at the new Ellen Vagelos Field.