PHILADELPHIA Penn travels across state lines to Delaware on Wednesday to meet the University of Delaware Blue Hens in field hockey action. Penn enters the game with momentum, riding a two-game winning streak and coming away with victories in five of its last six games. Delaware, on the other hand, started the season out on a seven game win streak before dropping four of its last six games.
The Quakers have met the Blue Hens 23 times, with Delaware holding a 15-8 edge in the all-time series. The two teams have not met since 2004, when Penn emerged with a 2-1 win in Newark.
The key to a Penn victory will be containing a Delaware offense that is outscoring opponents at a 2-1 clip. The Quakers have had trouble controlling play in the defensive circle, resulting in a decided advantage in penalty corners for the opposition. Allowing the Blue Hens to run set plays off corners will make it difficult to contain their potent offense.
Casey Howard leads the Hens in scoring with 20 points, including nine goals. She is followed by Tori Karsten who has added seven goals. In all, ten Blue Hens have scored goals this season, showing that their offense is not only high-powered, it is deep.
Nikki Rhoades has seen the majority of work in goal for the Hens, posting a 7-4 record, including three shutouts. Megan Allen has seen time in six games, with a 2-0 record.
Nicole Black enters the game carrying the Quakers on offense. She has scored five goals on the season, three of which came in the last week. Her 11 points on the season are only one behind team leader Margaretha Ehret’s 12.
Alanna Butera has settled in nicely to her new role as starting goalkeeper for Penn. She has started all ten games for the Quakers this season and has seen every second of game action. She has made 60 saves and recorded a GAA of 2.78. Two of her five victories have been shutouts.
Tonight’s game marks the fourth in seven days for the Quakers. They are also in the midst of a stretch where they will take the field six times in 11 days. Expect head coach Val Cloud to utilize her bench as much as possible to keep fresh legs on the field.