PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team is ready for its opening weekend, as the Quakers hit the road to face Liberty and Longwood. The Quakers face off with the Flames Friday at 4 p.m. in Lynchburg, Va.; on Sunday, they are in Farmville, Va., for an 11 a.m. faceoff
The Series with Liberty
This will mark the third time in four years that the Quakers and the Flames have met, with the road team winning each of the first two matchups. Penn won the first meeting, in 2012, by a 5-4 score, while Liberty returned the favor last year in Philadelphia with a 3-2 victory.
The Flames (1-0) opened the 2015 campaign with a 6-3 win over James Madison last Friday. Six different players scored for Liberty in the win, including Bethany Barr who also had an assist. In goal, Mallory Cuccio made five saves to earn the win.
The Series with Longwood
Penn hosted Longwood last year, the first meeting ever between these programs, and downed the Lancers 5-0. Alexa Hoover scored twice in the match, while fellow returnees Gina Guccione and Rachel Huang also scored.
The Lancers (0-1) start the weekend by hosting Lafayette on Friday, before Penn arrives on Sunday. Longwood opened the 2015 season with an 8-1 loss to James Madison last Sunday. Jennifer Burris had Longwood’s goal against JMU.
*Penn is 19-22-1 all-time in season openers, but the good news is that under current head coach Colleen Fink the Quakers have won their last three openers. (All three times, the opponent was Lehigh.)
*Penn returns six players who saw action in all 17 games last season, another who played in all but one game, and yet another who saw time in 14 contests.
*Penn returns five goal scorers from a year ago, led by Alexa Hoover (14), Elizabeth Hitti (8) and Elise Tilton (4)
*Hoover was last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year and just the second player in program history to earn first-team All-Ivy as a freshman. She also received second-team NFHCA All-Region recognition.
*Hoover led the Quakers and the Ivy League with 14 goals last season, and her 31 points was third among Ivy players.
*Rachel Huang played in every game last season and scored twice, while Gina Guccione scored once while also seeing time in every match in 2014.
*Junior Claire Kneizys figures to anchor the defense after starting back there last year; she finished last season with 12 shots and two assists.
*Penn has three All-Ivy players to replace, due to graduation: Emily Corcoran and MaryRose Croddick were second-team All-Ivy last year, while Alex Iqbal received honorable mention recognition. Corcoran scored nine goals last year, while Iqbal had seven.
*Hitti and Tilton will serve as this year’s captains.