Top Drawer Soccer Breaks Down Penn vs. Long Island
Top Drawer Soccer's Tournament 48 Rankings (Penn at #29)
Penn-Cornell Match Featured on CollegeSoccerNews.com's Trending Topics
Penn-Cornell on CollegeSoccerNews.com's Conference Matchups to Watch
PHILADELPHIA - After an eight-game stretch of non-conference matches to start the 2011 season, the Penn men's soccer program makes its first foray into Ivy League action on Saturday when the Quakers host Cornell at Rhodes Field (7 p.m., Penn Sports Network) in the Ancient Eight opener for both sides.
The Quakers were in the race for the Ivy League title until the last weekend of 2010, ultimately finishing second with a 5-2-0 record inside the League. Cornell was struggled through the 2010 Ivy slate, finishing eighth with a record of 0-5-2. However, the overall League record for the Big Red was a bit deceiving as four of their five losses came by one goal.
Penn's win in Ithaca was one of those one-goal losses Cornell suffered in 2010 - perhaps the most devastating one. The two sides were scoreless for 88 full minutes of play before Travis Cantrell got his body on a loose ball in the 89th minute - with 1:04 remaining to be exact - and give Penn the 1-0 win.
Cantrell, who was one of Penn's prime offensive sparks in 2010, has settled into more of a defensive role in the midfield this season, but still has one goal and two assists for the Quakers. His four points rank fourth on the team behind Duke Lacroix (11), Stephen Baker (10) and Christian Barreiro (10). That trio finds itself inside the top five on the Ivy League statistical leaders, with Lacroix tied for second and the combination of Barreiro and Baker both tied for fourth.
Baker, named co-Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday, is the most active shooter in the Ancient Eight, with 45 shots in eight matches. He is one of a multitude of players on both sides who will be sending offerings toward goal on Saturday as the two top offenses in terms of shots taken will take to Rhodes. Penn leads the League with 160 shots (20.0 shots-per-game) while Cornell is right behind with 146 (18.25 s.p.g.) Penn's attempts have resulted in 17 goals - tops in the Ivy League. Cornell has connected on 14 of its shots, third in the Ivies.
All-time, Penn's series with Cornell is its most active over the 106-plus years Penn has played men's soccer. The Quakers are 63-30-12 against Cornell all-time, and the 105 previous meetings are the most Penn has played against any team. In addition, the 63 victories over Cornell are the most Penn has recorded against any opponent.
Penn has picked up points in the last five matches in the series, with a 4-0-1 record against Cornell since the Big Red last won on Oct. 1, 2005 at Rhodes Field. The matches have all been as close as the outing last season - all of Penn's wins have been one-goal affairs.
The Big Red have already matched their win total from 2010 before reaching conference play with a 4-1-3 record to open the 2011 season. After a loss to begin the season, Cornell has not lost in seven outings. Before a 1-1 tie at St. Bonaventure on Sept. 26, the Big Red had won their last four matches by a score of 10-0. Cornell's defense has cracked down since allowing three goals in the opener to Niagara, allowing only three scores over the seven matches without a loss.
Rick Pflasterer has been in goal for all of Cornell's matches, and ranks second in the Ivy League with a 0.70 goals-against average. He has made 21 saves and has a save percentage of .778. Daniel Haber, who shared Ivy League Player of the Week honors with Baker last week, is tied for sixth in the Ivy League with nine points on three goals and three assists.