PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team christened the new Ellen Vagelos Field in style over the weekend, with wins over Cornell and Pacific. On Wednesday, the homestand continues as the Quakers host city rival La Salle at 4 p.m.
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The Series with La Salle
Despite their relative proximity in distance, this will be just the sseventh meeting between the Quakers and the Explorers in field hockey. Penn leads the series, 5-1, with the most recent win coming two years ago, 1-0, in double overtime at Franklin Field. These teams also met three straight years, from 2001-03; before that, the last meeting came way back in 1978 (La Salle’s only win, a 3-2 decision played at La Salle).
About La Salle
The Explorers (2-6) gained a win their last time out, a 2-1 victory over Liberty on Sunday. Prior to that, they fell to Pacific 2-1 on Friday. La Salle’s other win came at UMass-Lowell, 3-0, on September 8. Olivia Shoemaker is La Salle’s leader in every offensive category with five goals and three assists for 13 points. Mariel Papa and Maddy Tettelbach have four goals each, while Abby Lawrence has five points (2g, 1a). At the other end, Lisa Shaffer has played every minute in goal; she has a 3.31 goals-against average and a .710 save percentage.
*At 4-1, Penn will match its best start since 1997 if it wins against La Salle.
*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 22 goals in their first five games. Take out a one-goal performance at Bucknell, and Penn is averaging 6.0 goals per game.
*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.
*Junior Emily Corcoran has also been on fire, with goals in all but one game so far this season. She had the opening goal and then two assists in the Cornell win, then scored Penn’s first two goals against Pacific on Sunday. Overall, she is second on the team with 13 points.
*Another freshman, Elise Tilton, scored twice in a 23-second span Sunday vs. Pacific; she is tied with Corcoran for second on the team in goals (5), and like Corcoran she has scored in all but one game this season.
*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 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 .766 save percentage this season; however, in the last three games that number shoots up to .833. Her goals-against average for the 2013 campaign is 2.20
*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 at Harvard Saturday at noon, looking to stay unbeaten in Ivy League play.