PHILADELPHIA--The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team plays its final game of the regular season Saturday at 1 p.m. against Princeton. The match is a must-win Ivy League game for the Quakers (4-1-1 Ivy, 13 points) if they have any hopes of winning the League title and earning the conference’s automatic NCAA bid.
Adding to the drama? No. 17 Harvard, the lone team ahead of Penn at 5-1-0 (15 points), matches up with Columbia at the exact same time up in Boston. If the Crimson defeat the Lions, they will win the championship and gain the NCAA bid. However, a Harvard tie combined with a Penn win would leave them in a tie for the title, and give the Quakers the NCAA bid because of its win over Harvard in September. A Harvard loss and Penn win on Saturday gives the Quakers the crown outright.
Back to Saturday’s match, and the always hot-rivalry between Penn (8-4-2, 4-1-1 Ivy) and Princeton (6-7-3, 1-4-1 Ivy).
Penn played 110 minutes of some of the most entertaining soccer of the season last weekend against Brown, but came away with a scoreless tie. Senior captain and goalkeeper Daniel Cepero was credited with his seventh shutout of the season and sliced his goals-against average to 0.82. Coupled with a strong backline, Penn and Cepero top the Ivy League in nearly every defensive category.
Mike Klein leads the team with 13 points, though he has not registered one in the last three games. Ryan Tracy has a team-high four goals and nearly notched a fifth when he hit the post in Penn’s tie with Brown last weekend.
Princeton slipped under .500 last week with a 2-0 loss at Cornell. October was a rough month for the Tigers, who went 1-4-1 after starting the season 3-1-2 including a convincing 4-1 decision vs. Duquesne at the Penn Soccer Classic in September.
Freshman Devin Muntz leads the Tigers with 11 points behind four goals and three assists. Junior Kyle McHugh has also scored in double digits, with 10 points, and tallied the game-winner in the team’s 1-0 upset of Dartmouth.
In goal, senior Justin Oppenheimer has played 11 games with 1.21 goals-against average. Sophomore Joe Walter has also seen time in seven games and started most of October for the Tigers.