PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s men’s soccer team returns to Rhodes Field on Saturday night, hosting Columbia in week two of Ivy League play for 2014. Penn enters the match with a 5-4-0 overall record and a 1-0-0 start to Ancient Eight play. The Lions are 3-5-0 overall, and 0-1-0 in Ivy games.
The Quakers have won three consecutive Ivy League games dating back to last season, and are 7-1-1 in their last nine Ivy contests. At home this season, Penn is 3-1-0.
Goalkeeper Max Polkinhorne made five saves last weekend at Cornell to claim his third shutout of the season. For his career, Polkinhorne has five shutouts as part of his 9-4-1 record. He has been at his best in Ivy League appearances, playing 311:53 of Ivy League soccer without conceding a goal.
Duke Lacroix maintains his team lead in scoring with 14 points through nine matches this season. For his career, Lacroix has 59 points – fifth-most all-time by a Penn player and the most career points by a Quaker since 1990. His career-best mark for points in a single season is 19 (2013) – a number which is within reach with eight matches remaining this year.
Alec Neumann has 13 points this season – one away from equaling his total from 2013. His five goals to this point in 2014 already match his output as a rookie last year.
Penn enters the weekend ranked No. 20 in the latest RPI, the highest-ranked Ivy team. Penn’s high RPI is reflected in its ranking this week in the NCAA’s “Toughest Schedule” list. Consistently in the Top-10 throughout the season, the Quakers schedule currently sits as the sixth-toughest in the nation.
Columbia enters the match this weekend with losses in its three most recent outings. All three losses have been shutout defeats, the Lions failing to score a goal in 277:49 of game play dating back to a 2-0 win over Fordham on September 24.
On Wednesday, Seton Hall handed the Lions a 1-0 defeat via a penalty kick goal in the 87th minute following a Columbia handball in the penalty area. The late loss to the Pirates mirrored a similar defeat for Columbia to open Ivy play at Brown last weekend. Again embroiled in a scoreless match with time running out, Columbia conceded the game-winner in the 89th minute.
Francesco Agrest leads the Lions with three goals this season, but he hasn’t scored since opening weekend. 2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy selection Andrew Tinari has just one assist this season after notching five goals and three assists last year.
Goalkeeper Kyle Jackson has twice been named All-Ivy, including a second team selection last season when he posted an 8-5-3 record and a 1.20 GAA. This season, he has played in six matches with a 2-4-0 record and a 1.61 GAA.
Last year’s meeting between Penn and Columbia was a 0-0 draw in New York City. Jackson made six saves for the Lions to record the shutout, while Penn keeper Tyler Kinn had four stops for a clean sheet of his own. The biggest moment of the match was a Jackson save on an Austin Kinn penalty kick during the second period of overtime.
All-time, Penn is 32-29-6 in 67 meetings with Columbia. The last 10 meetings have seen Penn post a 6-3-1 record.