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PHILADELPHIA - Penn is set for its longest road trip of 2012 this weekend, heading to Hanover, N.H. for a meeting with Dartmouth on Saturday at 4:40 p.m. at Burnham Field. The Quakers are looking to snap a three-match losing streak and improve a 2-9-0 record while the Big Green enter the weekend with a 5-6-0 record and winners of two out of their last three matches. Penn is winless inside the Ivy League to start the season at 0-2-0, while the Big Green have split their two Ancient Eight matches and are in need of a win to stay within reach of league-leading Cornell.
Penn still sits second in the Ivy League in scoring offense with its 22 goals in 11 matches, a number which also ranks 24th in the country. Three different players have five goals for the Quakers - Stephen Baker, Travis Cantrell and Duke Lacroix - which rank third in the Ivy League. Lacroix's 13 points tie him for second-most in the Ivy League with Dartmouth's Alex Adelabu. All three of Penn's top scorers rank inside the top-seven in the Ivy League.
After allowing a goal in the first half of its 1-0 loss to Columbia last weekend, Penn clamped down in the second half with the Lions mustering just one shot on goal while Penn sent five shots toward the Columbia net. The improved defensive effort over the previous six games has seen Penn drop is goals allowed-per-game from 2.8 over the first five matches of the season to 2.4 entering Saturday's match after allowing just 2.1 over the most recent six outings. While all parties will grant that the number is still too high, the trend downward shows not only a return to the lineup Penn had hoped to have all season, but a continued gelling of the defensive unit which entered the season with just two returning starters. Junior co-captain Jonny Dolezal and classmate Nicky Yin have spearheaded the cohesion of late, with goalkeeper Max Kurtzman happy to see his save numbers dwindle as shots against lessen. Kurtzman still ranks 12th in the country in saves-per-game with 5.75 and 54th in total saves with 46 stops.
Dartmouth had a two-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday at Boston College in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Eagles. Last weekend, the Big Green scored a 1-0 win of their own over Yale in Hanover to earn their first Ivy points of the season. Goalkeeper Noah Cohen earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors last week after the shutout against the Bulldogs and a 3-1 win over Vermont. Cohen has two clean sheets this season and a 1.43 GAA coupled with a .740 save percentage. Adelabu leads the Big Green in scoring with his 13 points, including six goals. Andoni Georgiou and Brad Jacobson each have two goals, while Colin Heffron has been the primary set-up specialist for the Big Green with four assists. As a team, Dartmouth as scored 14 goals and allowed 14, engaging in eight one-goal games over the course of the season.
Last season, Penn was edged by the Big Green at Rhodes Field, 2-1. All three goals came in the first half - and came in a span of 7:13. Christian Barreiro had the goal for Penn to tie the match in the 20th minute, but graduated Dartmouth striker Lucky Mkosana scored the game-winner 1:42 later on a penalty kick.