PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in four matches, Penn will line up opposite a highly-ranked team as the Quakers head to State College for a match with No. 7 Penn State on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Wednesday’s match will be the third contest for the Quakers against a team inside the NSCAA/Continental Tire Division I Top-12 in a ten day span. On September 14, Penn dropped a 3-1 decision at then-No. 9 Washington before suffering a late setback at home against No. 12 American on September 18.
Penn responded well on Sunday, snapping a three-match losing streak with a late surge at Temple to the tune of a 3-0 win. Max Polkinhorne was busy in goal, truly earning his shutout with a career-high 12 saves. The Quakers needed two-third of the match to find a flow offensively, but the goals came in bunches after Duke Lacroix struck in the 63rd minute. The captain’s strike started a three-goal run in the span of 5:27 as Penn blew by its crosstown rival.
Alec Neumann had four points last week, scoring Penn’s lone goal against American before tallying two assists in the win over the Owls. He has eight points this season, numbers which lead the Quakers and are second among all Ivy players.
Overall, 10 different players have scored at least one point for the Red and Blue through six matches, including six different goal scorers. A player to keep an eye on is junior defender Sam Engs. He has appeared in two matches this season – and scored in each one. Over 12 career appearances, he has four goals and an assist.
Wednesday’s opponent is one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Nittany Lions enter the match with a 6-0-1 record and are 5-0-0 at Jeffrey Field this season. Penn State as outscored its opponents, 11-1, this season and the Nittany Lions hold a 9-0 edge on the scoreboard at home in 2014. In fact, dating back to last season, Penn State has gone 660:28 of game action at home without conceding a goal over parts of eight matches.
Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton has started six matches for the Nittany Lions and played 503:21 in goal. The 2013 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, he has yet to concede a goal this season, making 15 saves. Penn State’s only goal conceded this season came in a match Wolverton was ejected following a red card for handling the ball outside the penalty area.
Sophomore Connor Maloney leads the Nittany Lions in goals this season with four. An All-Big Ten Freshmen team selection last season, Maloney has already surpasses his goal total from 2013. He shares the team lead in points (nine) with senior Mikey Minutillo. The transfer from Virginia Tech has blossomed in his final season, setting career highs already in goals (three) and points (three) to share the team lead.
The Quakers are 6-22-1 all-time against Penn State. Penn’s last win over the Nittany Lions came in 2008, a 3-0 win at Rhodes Field.