PHILADELPHIA Two teams riding hot streaks will meet at Franklin Field tonight as Penn (3-4, 2-1 Ivy League) hosts Villanova (8-2, 2-0 Big East) in field hockey action. The Quakers are on three-game winning streak while the Wildcats have not lost in their last eight games. Penn enters the game undefeated at home this season while the Cats are undefeated on the road. Tonight, something has to give.
Penn is coming off a 5-1 victory over Ivy League rival Dartmouth. The Quakers have renewed their focus on defense over the past three games, limiting opponents to only 16 shots and three goals over that span. The team focus on defense has in turn kick-started the offense. Penn has erupted for nine goals over the past three games, four more than they scored in their previous four games combined.
Head coach Val Cloud feels team interaction on the field has helped guide the team to its recent success.
“Overall there is better communication and execution,” she said, “That has led to better team defense.”
The Wildcats travel down the Main Line looking to continue its recent trend of scoring in bunches. Since its Sept. 8 loss to number one ranked North Carolina, Villanova has scored 25 goals in eight games, including six against West Chester and five against both Monmouth and Lehigh.
Leading the way for Villanova is a pair of freshmen, Lauren Wuzzardo and Meg Ryan. The two have quickly proved themselves at the collegiate level. Wuzzardo is first on the team in goals (nine) and points (20). Ryan is second on the team in both categories, with eight goals and 18 points.
Cloud expects the game between city rivals to have a quick pace.
“The game should be fast and aggressive as usual,” she said, “They are off to a good start this season and we have played extremely well lately. Both teams have a lot of confidence. Our recent success has us ready for this challenge.”
The collective mind of the Quakers is focused on one goal.
“Four wins in a row is what we want,” said Cloud.