Around the Ivy League
Six of the seven Ivy teams are in non-conference action this weekend, with Dartmouth off due to winter term finals. Two teams play home games Friday night, as Harvard hosts Bellarmine and Princeton hosts North Carolina. On Saturday, while Penn and Villanova are battling on the Main Line, Brown is hosting another Philadelphia-area team (Saint Joseph's). Cornell meets No. 1 Virginia as part of the Face-Off Classic at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Yale hosts Lehigh at 2 p.m.
The Series with Villanova
The Quakers and the Wildcats have played every year since 1998, with Penn holding a 7-6 lead in that time. Overall, the teams have met 21 times, with the Quakers holding a 15-6 lead in the series. Last year, Penn defeated Villanova 8-7 at Franklin Field. Two years ago, the 'Cats gained a 14-7 victory en route to an NCAA Championship bid. Of the last 13 meetings, nine have been decided by three or fewer goals.
The 20th-ranked Wildcats (4-1) have won three in a row, most recently a 17-5 demolition of Penn State Tuesday night. Prior to that, Villanova defeated Fairfield 10-6 last Saturday and beat Drexel by a goal on March 1. Kevin Cunningham leads the 'Cats with 21 points (14g, 7a), while Matt Bell and Jack Rice have eight goals apiece and Will Casertano has seven. On defense, Brian Karalunas has 19 caused turnovers and 18 ground balls. Nolan Vihlen is VU's top face-off man, with a .568 win percentage). In goal, Billy Hurley has a .512 save percentage and an 8.51 goals-against average.
*The Quakers entered the week ranked ninth in the latest USILA national coaches poll, but lost on Tuesday to No. 15 North Carolina, 12-6, in Chapel Hill. That was not a surprise -- UNC has not lost at home under third-year head coach Joe Breschi (17-0).
*Saturday's game is the fifth that Penn has played in a two-week span, a fact tempered by the fact that four of them are in the Philadelphia area. The Quakers will be off all of next week before opening Ivy League play with Princeton next Saturday.
*Penn started 3-0 for the first time since 2007, beating defending NCAA champion Duke (7-3), Bucknell (8-6) and Lafayette (7-6). In the Duke win, the Quakers held the Blue Devils to their lowest goal total since 1986.
*Penn had six different players score its seven goals in its season opener against Duke, and then seven different players scored the Quakers' eight goals last Tuesday against Bucknell.
*Junior John Conneely had Penn's first three-goal game this season last Friday against Lafayette; Al Kohart followed up with a three-goal game Tuesday at UNC.
*Kohart leads Penn with eight goals and 10 points, while Conneely has five goals and seven points.
*Sophomore Rob Fitzpatrick is third on the team with five points overall (3g, 3a).
*After he started the season with two scoreless games, senior Corey Winkoff has scored a goal and dished off three assists in the last two outings.
*Winkoff has three assists this season, giving him 71 for his career which is sixth on the program's all-time list. He is three shy of fifth place (Kenneth Kirtz had 74 from 1953-56) and six shy of fourth place (Jon Cusson had 77 from 1994-97).
*In a survey of the NCAA Division I SIDs, Winkoff's 71 career assists stand eighth among active players nationally.
*After Kohart, Conneely and Fitzpatrick, four players have scored twice this season -- juniors Dan Savage and Will Koshansky, sophomore Ryan Parietti, and freshman Drew Belinsky.
*Koshansky, a long-stick middie, also leads Penn with 11 caused turnovers; three behind him is freshman Maxx Meyer.
*Danny Feeney has been Penn's faceoff man the first three games (31 of 67, .463 win percentage); he leads the Quakers with 21 ground balls, followed by Meyer (11) and Koshansky (10).
*Freshman Brian Feeney -- Danny's twin brother -- has played every minute in goal for Penn. He has a .550 save percentage and a 6.75 goals-against average.
*Penn returns four players who received All-Ivy honors last year -- senior Brett Hughes was a second-team All-Ivy pick, while Winkoff, Kohart and Conneely were honorable mention.
*Overall, Penn returns six of its top seven scorers from last year.