PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania field hockey team has gone to overtime in each of its first three Ivy League games, emerging victorious each time. The Quakers would prefer to win less dramatically in their next Ivy contest, which takes place Friday at Columbia at 6 p.m. Following that game, Penn goes out of conference to face Bucknell on Sunday at noon in Lewisburg, Pa. These are the first two of three-straight road games the Quakers are playing over the next week.Around The Ivy League
The Ancient Eight get past the midway point in conference play this weekend. After Penn (3-0) and Columbia (1-2) face off on Friday night, the other six teams are in action Saturday with a trio of noon faceoffs. Co-leader Princeton (3-0) is at Brown (1-2); Dartmouth (0-3) is at Yale (0-3); and Harvard (2-1) and Cornell (2-1) try to stay in the title chase as they face off in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Series with Columbia
The Quakers lead the Lions, 10-9, but Columbia has won each of the last four meetings. The last three matchups, and four of the last five, have needed overtime before things were settled.
The Lions (6-5, 1-2 Ivy) opened Ivy play with a 2-0 win over Brown, but since then they have lost to Cornell (5-2) and Princeton (4-3 in OT). Most recently, Columbia beat Bryant last Sunday, 5-0. Christina Freibott -- who had a hat trick in that win over Bryant -- was a unanimous pick as last year’s Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Ivy. This season, she has eight goals and seven assists for 23 points. Katie Ruesterholtz also was a first-team All-Ivy pick.
The Series with Bucknell
The Quakers and the Bison are tied, 2-2, with Bucknell gaining one-goal victories each of the last two years (2-1 in Lewisburg in 2013, 1-0 in Philadelphia in 2014).
The Bison (6-7), who play a Patriot League game against Holy Cross on Saturday, have won three of their last four including a 2-1 overtime decision over Temple last Sunday. Kiersten Sydnor leads Bucknell in scoring, with 17 points (7g, 3a), while Nicole Rupnik has five goals. Three other players have scored three times each. Emily Hitchings is tied with Sydnor for the team lead in assists. In goal, Shannon Keen has 11 starts, a 2.54 goals-against average, and .592 save percentage. Bucknell is in its eighth season under head coach Jeremy Cook, a former Penn assistant coach.
*After a season-opening loss at Liberty, Penn has won nine games in a row. It is the first nine-game winning streak in program history.
*Penn is 9-1 after nine games, the best ten-game start in program history. The previous best ten-game start came in 1988, when the Quakers were 8-1-1. That Penn team eventually reached the NCAA semifinal round.
*Penn is 3-0 in Ivy League play for the second time in three years; prior to 2013, the last time the Quakers were 3-0 after three Ivy matches was 1995.
*Penn -- which has scored at least twice in every game so far this season -- has five different players who have scored at least three times this season, and a sixth who has two goals.
*Junior co-captain Elise Tilton has just three goals this season, but she has ended things each of the last two Saturdays with the winning goal in OT. Tilton also had an assist in last Saturday’s win against Dartmouth.
*Sophomore Alexa Hoover continued her hot play in Saturday’s win over the Big Green, scoring the Quakers’ opening goal and then assisting Tilton’s OT winner. With six regular-season games still left to play, she already holds the program’s single-season records for goals (21) and points (47). Both records were previously held by Liz Lorelli, who had 20 goals and 43 points in 2003.
*On Tuesday, Hoover was named Ivy League Player of the Week for the fourth time this season. The last player honored so many times in the same season in field hockey was Princeton’s Kathleen Sharkey in 2012.
*Hoover -- who has scored in all but one game this year -- entered the week leading the nation in goals and points per game. She has already far surpassed her totals for ALL of last season, when she led the Ivy League in goals (14) and was third among Ivy players in points (31).
*Last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Hoover set a program record for goals in a game when she notched five against Saint Joseph’s on September 11. The previous record of four was met three times in program history, most recently by Judy Jaczun against Dartmouth in 1989.
*Perhaps most impressive was that Hoover had her five goals while there was still more than 20 minutes left in regulation.
*With hat tricks against Liberty, Sacred Heart and Lafayette this season, Hoover already has five games with three or more goals in her young career.
*Senior co-captain Elizabeth Hitti was held without a point for just the second time this season last Saturday. She has 19 points overall (4g, 11a), and entered the week leading the nation in assists per game.
*Freshman Selena Garzio, who sandwiched a goal between Tilton and Hoover’s tallies last Saturday against Dartmouth, has nine points so far this season (3g, 3a).
*Sophomore Rachel Huang had Penn’s other goal last week against Lafayette, her second of the season.
*Sophomore Gina Guccione got the Harvard game to overtime two weeks ago, scoring her fifth goal of the season with just 3:43 left in regulation off a Huang feed. Those five goals have come over Penn’s last eight contests, and she has scored in two of Penn’s three Ivy contests.
*Garzio and fellow freshman Karen Seid (1a) are the two newcomers who have started every game so far this season.
*In goal, sophomore Liz Mata has played all but 20 minutes of game action this season; she has a 2.25 goals-against average and a .660 save percentage.