PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team returns to Rhodes Field for Ivy League play on Saturday, hosting Dartmouth in the night-cap of an Ivy doubleheader with the women’s side. The men are scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
This Saturday is the first “Separation Saturday” in the Ivy League, with the top six teams all playing each other. The Big Green are tied atop the Ancient Eight table at 2-0-0, while the Quakers are tied for fourth at 1-1-0 in League play. A Penn win could vault the Quakers into a first-place tie depending on other results around the League.
Five Things You Need to Know…The Quakers are 31-23-8 all-time against Dartmouth. The Quakers have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 2-1 win in Hanover last season. Then-freshmen Sam Wancowicz (35’) and Austin Kuhn (59’) had the goals for the Quakers as Penn rallied from an early deficit.
Both teams were in similar positions in regards to the Ivy standings at this point last season. Penn entered with a 1-1-0 record in the League, Dartmouth was 2-0-0. The loss was the only defeat in Ivy League fixtures for the Big Green, who went 5-1-1 in the League for a share of the Ivy title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Penn has scored seven goals this season, and five have come from newcomers to the program. Austin Kuhn is the only player among the six goal-scorers this season who also registered a goal for the Quakers in 2014. Of Penn’s three goals in Ivy League play, each has come from a player in his first season with the Red and Blue – Joe Swenson (2), Gavin Barger.
Penn has seen three goalkeepers play considerable minutes this season. Nick Savino has earned the most starts (5) and has two wins – including a shutout in the Ivy opener against Cornell. Max Polkinhorne has started four matches, and owns a shutout of then-No. 7 Washington. Etan Mabourakh has appeared in three matches, and is coming off a second-half performance on Tuesday where he made three acrobatic saves to keep his team within range of Rutgers.
Alec Neumann leads the team in shots with 12, but is still in search of his first point of the season. On Tuesday, he had a team-high three shots against Rutgers, giving a sign he may be close to breaking through.
The Big Green enter Saturday’s match with a 6-3-1 overall record and on a four-match winning streak where they have outscored their opponents, 7-1. Dartmouth’s last two losses were one-goal defeats at No. 9 Washington and Seattle.
Senior goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland is picking up where his 2014 first-team All-Ivy campaign left off. He leads the Ivy League – and ranks No. 18 nationally – with a 0.69 GAA. His .861 save percentage also leads the Ancient Eight and is No. 8 among all Division I keepers. He has five clean sheets is seven starts.
Four different players have two goals for the Big Green this season, with Eduvie Ikoba pacing the club in points with seven off two goals and three assists. Samuel Rosen is a player of watch off the bench – he has two goals and seven shots. Amadu Kunateh has two goals this season – each a game winner.