PHILADELPHIA - As the preseason clock winds down for the Penn men's soccer team and thoughts turn from training and fitness to strategy and wins, the Red and Blue are looking to build on an impressive 2010 campaign that ranked as one of the best in program history.
10 letterwinners return from last season's club which won 13 games, tying for the second-most by a Penn club in a single season. Five starters are back for the Red and Blue, including four players who appeared in all 19 matches last season. The top four point producers are back in the lineup, and 74% of Penn's total offense is back for 2011.
The Quakers, who shared Philadelphia Soccer Six co-champion honors with Drexel in 2010, open their season inside the PS6 with a trip to La Salle on Friday (7 p.m.) followed by a home match with Saint Joseph's on Sunday (5:30 p.m.) as part of Opening Weekend. The Quakers dominated the two city rivals in 2010, opening the season with a pair of convincing shutouts - 2-0 at Saint Joseph's and 5-0 at home against La Salle. The Red and Blue are 27-3-8 all-time against La Salle and 20-4 all-time against Saint Joseph's, and will look to continue those impressive runs this opening weekend.
The Explorers were 8-6-3 overall last season and 6-2-1 inside the Atlantic 10. La Salle will be looking to find a new source of offense after the graduation of Ryan Richter who accounted for 14 of the Explorers' 24 goals in 2010 before being drafted by the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. A pair of sophomores, Jidell Roach and Jason Plumhoff each had 10 points last season to tie for second on the Explorers and are back this year. Junior Kameron Teel, a transfer from Immaculata, scored the lone goal for the Explorers in their 3-1 loss at Rutgers last Friday. Teel played two seasons for the Mighty Macs and is their all-time points-per-game leader at 1.17 ppg with 18 career goals. In goal, sophomore John McCarthy is back as the primary keeper after posting an 8-3-3 record in his freshman campaign.
Saint Joseph's went 2-15 in 2010, as head coach Don D'Ambra took over a program in need of a fresh start and helped the Hawks improve defensively with a 13-goal improvement in the goals-against column from a 2009 season where the Hawks were winless in 17 matches. The Hawks are once again a young squad with just four seniors and four juniors among the 27 players. One of those seniors, Tom Smart, has started 47 matches in his career for the Hawks and was a Philadelphia Soccer Six All-Star at center back in 2010.
Notes on the 2011 Penn Quakers
Wrapping up 2010
- The Quakers won 13 matches in 2010, tied for second-most all-time with the 1971 and 1973 clubs. The 1972 team won 14 matches to set the program standard.
- The 19 matches played in 2010 was the second-most by a Penn team, behind only the 1912 team which played 20 matches (8-9-3)
- Penn went 5-2-0 in the Ivy League, good for second place. The 5-2 mark inside the Ancient Eight was the sixth-best Ivy performance by a Penn team.
Penn in the Polls
- Unranked in the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings, the Quakers are ranked No. 10 in the Northeast Region entering the season. Four of the teams ranked ahead of the Quakers in the region await the Red and Blue on the season schedule.
- Goal.com slotted Penn No. 23 in its Preseason Top-25, the lone Ivy team in the poll.
- CollegeSoccerNews.com has the Quakers in the "Also Receiving Votes" section of its Top-30 poll entering the season, while TopDrawerSoccer.com has the Quakers at No. 35 in its Tournament 48 which looks at its 48 teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament.
Fuller Closing in on 100
- Head coach Rudy Fuller has won 99 career matches for the Quakers, fourth-most by a Quaker coach.
Guess Who's Back ...
- 10 letterwinners from 2010 return for the Quakers, including five starters. In all, 10 players who appeared in at least 10 matches in 2010 are back in the lineup for 2011.
- Penn's four top returning scorers are back for 2011 and all four produced double digits in points last season. Sophomore Stephen Baker leads the returning offensive stalwarts, with an 18-point season to his credit as a freshman.
- In all, players returning accounted for 22 of Penn's 27 goals in 2010 - which equals 81%. That number also includes 10 of the Red and Blue's 13 game-winning goals.
- Of the five returning starters, four are likely to line up in the middle of the field - defenders Thomas Brandt and Jake Levin and midfielders Christian Barreiro and Travis Cantrell. In addition to offensive output (14 goals in 2010 and 26 over their career), the group is stellar defensively with Brandt and Levin manning the center back position and Cantrell patrolling center midfield.
Baker Leads Quakers
- Baker had a phenomenal freshman season in 2010, leading the team in scoring with 18 points. He was named third-team NSCAA All-Region and second-team All-Ivy for his effort, and earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer.com All-Freshman Team to go with second-team All-Freshman honors from Soccer America.
- His rookie season was the best by a Quaker in the 2000s, easily outdistancing Mike Klein's 12 points in 2005.
- Overall, his point total was the fourth-most by a Penn player since 1991.
Brotherly Love in the City of Brotherly Love
- Another set of brothers is slated to take the field for the Quakers in 2011 with goalkeeper Tyler Kinn joining twin brother Austin on the roster. Austin appeared in two matches off the bench for the Red and Blue last season while Tyler is a walk-on for the 2011 season after a high school career where he was league MVP in 2009.
Welcome to Penn!
- Eight freshmen are joining the Quakers in 2011 as part of a recruiting class ranked No. 9 in the country by CollegeSoccerNews.com this offseason. Included in that class are three players who have spent time with the United States U-18 National Team - Max Kurtzman, Agyeman Botchway and Duke Lacroix.
- Kurtzman was rated the No. 2 goalkeeper in the Class of 2011 by TopDrawerSoccer and the No. 17 overall recruit in the country. The Bryn Mawr, Pa. native played his prep soccer at The Haverford School.
- In addition to the three USYNT players, Jason deFaria, Mariano Gonzalez-Guerineau, Tom O'Brien, Kamar Saint-Louis and Louis Schott will begin their Penn careers this fall.
Preseason Honors Roll In
- Senior captain Thomas Brandt was named a second-team Preseason All-American by CollegeSoccerNews.com. He was one of two Ivy players among the 22 chosen and one of seven defenders.
- Brandt has joined classmates Levin and Barreiro on TopDrawerSoccer.com's "Big Board", a weekly listing of the Top 100 senior pro prospects in the country. In the most recent ranking, Levin comes in at No. 20 while Barreiro is at No. 43 and Brandt is No. 94.
Brandt Earns Nomination for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
- Entering his second season as one of Penn's captains, Thomas Brandt has been tabbed as a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He is one of 30 candidates from around the country.
- To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must possess notable achievements in community, classrooms, character and competition.