PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team has one final non-conference game before closing out the season with a pair of Ivy League contests. The Quakers host Villanova on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the new Ellen Vagelos Field.
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The Series with Villanova
One of the longest-standing series among Penn’s non-Ivy opponents, these two local programs have played every year since 1986. The series could not be much more even; Penn has beaten Villanova 14 times, the Wildcats have beaten the Quakers 14 times, and the teams have tied twice. Penn won last year’s game out on the Main Line, 3-2, snapping a six-game losing streak to the ‘Cats.
The Wildcats (3-11) have lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine. Most recently, Villanova fell to Louisville on Sunday, 6-1. Maddy Harding leads the ‘Cats with six goals and has 15 points, while Jessica Swoboda tops the squad in assists (6) and points (16). Lauren Wilson has three goals. In goal, Alex Diekmann has played in 12 of 14 games and holds a 3.75 goals-against average and a .598 save percentage.
*At 11-3, Penn has reached a double-digit win total for the first time since the 2004 team went 13-4; that team shared the Ivy League title with Harvard.
*After tying the program record for goals in a season last year, with 42, the Quakers have already shattered the mark this year with 50 goals in 14 games. Penn entered the week seventh nationally in goals per game (3.57) and ninth in points per game (9.36).
*Penn was shut out for just the second time this season on Saturday, by Yale. (The Quakers also shut out the Bulldogs, however, then won the game in penalty strokes. The game goes in the books as 1-0 Penn win.)
*Junior goalkeeper Carly Sokach was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week on Tuesday, following a performance against Yale that included tying a career high with 15 saves (without allowing a goal) and then stopping four of five 1-on-1 efforts after the game was still tied following two overtimes. On the last 1-on-1, she tripped the Yale player, then stopped the ensuing penalty stroke to clinch Penn’s win.)
*Saturday’s game marked Sokach’s sixth double-digit-save games this season. She also had 11 in a 2-1 loss at Bucknell; 12 in a 4-3 win against Cornell; 12 in a shutout win at Harvard; 11 in a loss to Lafayette; and 12 in the OT win at Rider.
*Sokach entered the week ranked 11th nationally in save percentage (.775) and 14th in saves per game (7.14). She is second among Ivy goalies in both categories. The player in front of her? Her counterpart this coming weekend, Brown’s Shannon McSweeney.
*Freshman Jasmine Cole, who has been Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice and co-Ivy League Player of the Week once this season, entered the week leading Penn, the Ivy League, and the nation in goals per game (1.14). She was fourth nationally in points per game (2.50).
*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 in her Ivy League debut against Cornell.
*Junior forward Emily Corcoran was named Ivy League Player of the Week and ECAC Offensive Player of the Week on October 15. She earned the award by recording three goals -- one an overtime game-winner -- and three assists in non-conference wins over Rider and UMass Lowell.
*Corcoran was the third different Penn player to earn the Ivy honor this season (also Cole and Sokach). Amazingly, the last time the Quakers had three different women earn Ivy Player of the Week honors was 1988 (Nicky Hitchens, Sue Donohue, Ellen Vagelos).
*Corcoran entered the week third in the Ivy League and 11th nationally in points per game (2.29), 15th in goals per game (0.86), and 21st nationally in assists per game (0.57).
*A fourth player, freshman forward Elise Tilton, was the Ivy League Rookie of the Week on October 8 after scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of Penn’s 5-4 overtime win against Dartmouth; the goals erased a 4-2 deficit and got the Quakers to OT.
*After scoring twice against Appalachian State on October 20, Tilton has 10 goals and 21 points this season. She is 31st nationally in goals per game (0.71).
*Penn has gone to overtime four times this season, winning three of them (Dartmouth and Rider in OT, Yale in strokes). Corcoran scored the winner in both games that Penn won in OT.
*Senior Julie Tahan was on the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll on October 22; she scored a goal at Columbia, then added a goal and an assist vs. App State. She now has 15 points on the season (4g, 7a) and is 37th nationally in assists per game (0.50).
*Another senior, Sunny Stirewalt, has scored in three of Penn’s last five games; on October 20, she scored twice and added an assist against the Mountaineers. Stirewalt now has 11 points (4g, 3a).
*Sophomore Elizabeth Hitti scored the only goal in Penn’s 1-0 win at Harvard, a nice homecoming for the Massachusetts resident. She has 10 points (4g, 2a).
*Junior defender MaryRose Croddick, who sets most of Penn’s penalty corners, has three assists this season.
*It has been nice to see junior Alex Iqbal get back onto the score sheet in recent games; she has three assists this season. Iqbal was an All-Ivy performer as a freshman, but missed all of last year due to an injury.
*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.
*Tahan and Iqbal are this year’s captains. In addition to Tahan, the other seniors are Stirewalt, Amelia Cohen and Katie Harrington.
Penn has two Ivy League games still left on its schedule, starting Saturday when the Quakers are at Brown for a noon start. If the Quakers beat the Bears, their game with Princeton on Saturday, Nov. 9 will be for at least a share of the Ivy League title.