PHILADELPHIA--The Penn men's soccer team will celebrate Labor Day by traveling to Seton Hall forthe first game of the 2007 season. The Quakers kick off at 7 p.m. on SHU's Owen T. Carroll Field.
The Red and Blue enter the game after justover a week in trainingcamp, butboasting aroster stacked with2006 starters, nearly 80 percent of its point production from a year agoand an impressive list of newcomers including three accomplished junior transfers.
Four of Penn's top five scorer last season return. Juniors Mike Klein, Alex Grendi and Omid Shokoufandeh continued to impress last season leading the offensive charge for the Quakers. Klein was the team's leading scorer for the season season with three goals and eight assists. Grendi had two goals and three assists while Shokoufandeh had six points (1g,4a). Junior Kevin Unger provided four goals (including two in overtime) while senior Derek Hobson had three tallies and two assists.
One of Hobson'sthree was against the Pirates last season whenQuakershostedSeton Hallat Rhodes Field in early October. The teams split a 1-1 decision putting a little more pride on the line inthis season's meeting.
Seton Hall comes into the game 1-0 after shutting outStonybrook 2-0 on Friday. After a scoreless first half, the Pirates scored in the 60th and 82nd minute. Senior Justin McGrath and junior Eliseo Giusfredi scored SHU's goals. The now-graduated John Raus scored the Pirates' goal against Penn last season.
The big question for the Quakers in 2007 is who will be manning the net. After the departure of Dan Cepero C'07, who spent every minute in goal the last two seasons, there are three keepers eyeing the job.
Junior Drew Healy comes into the season with the most time on the team and after a successful stint with the Premier Development League's Delaware Dynasty over the summer. Sophomore Kevin Sweetland has also made strides adjusting to the college game and competing well in practice. Freshman Ben Berg entered the preseason in good condition and has impressed in practice as well.
Whoever gets the nod will have a strong defense in front with many of the members that made Penn the stingiest team in the Ivy League in 2006. Leading the group is All-Ivy first team selection Keith Vereb and Penn Soccer Coaches Award recipient John Elicker.