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Following this weekend, Penn plays another ranked team in No. 18 Brown, then goes unranked again with Princeton, before closing out the season with its third ranked team in five games in current No. 11 Harvard. (Adding insult to injury, the Quakers travel to both the Bears and the Crimson.)
If you think Penn will get lax because of the unranked status of the Bulldogs, think again. All Ivy League matches are a big deal, and the Bulldogs are coming in off a rousing win against Cornell last weekend. The youthful Quakers, meanwhile, continue to look for their first league win after sharing the title last year with Dartmouth.
Also in the Ivy League: Saturday is a full day of action in the League, with all eight teams in play. Princeton (1-2-0) and Harvard (2-0-1)meet in Cambridge at 1:30 p.m., while Columbia (1-2-0) and Ivy leader Dartmouth (3-0-0) play in Hanover at 4 p.m. Brown (2-1-0) and Cornell (0-1-2) kick off in Ithaca.
The Series With Yale: The Quakers lead the Bulldogs, 46-40-8, and have won three in a row in the series since a 1-1 tie in 2005. Last year, Penn scored with just 1:55 left in regulation to win, 2-1, in New Haven on the way to the Ivy title. Two years ago, here in Philadelphis, the Quakers gained a 2-1 win in double overtime.
About Yale: Yale won a wild game with Cornell last weekend, the Bulldogs first Ivy win this season. In that match, Yale was up 2-0 at halftime, surrendered three straight goals to the Big Red, then came back with two goals in the final 3:51 of regulation to gain the victory. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs fell to No. 6 Connecticut, 2-0. Brad Rose leads the Eli with 12 points (4 goals, 4 assists), while Scott Armbrust is the team's leading goalscorer with five. At the other end, Travis Chulick -- who had two saves vs. UConn -- has a 1.43 goals-against average in 12 matches.
*Senior Alex Takakuwa scored Penn's lone goal in its 3-1 loss to Dartmouth last weekend here at Rhodes Field. That gives him six tallies this season which ties him for the team lead (and sixth among Ivy League players) with sophomore Christian Barreiro.
*Barreiro is also tied for the Ivy League lead with three game-winning goals this season, and is seventh among Ivy League players with 1.08 points per contest.
*Junior Loukas Tasigianis had Penn's goal last week in the Quakers' heartbreaking, 2-1 overtime loss at American; it was his second goal this season. Michael Kozak and Travis Cantrell were credited with assists on Tasigianis' goal, the second assist for both this season.
*Junior Tobi Olopade is seventh among Ivy players with 0.40 assists per game, and tied for eighth with 1.00 points per match.
*In goal, junior Ben Berg has played almost the entire season. He had six saves at American last Tuesday, and entered the week second in the Ivy League with four shutouts and fourth with an average of 3.27 saves per match.
*Recently, freshman Garon Smith has gotten the start in goal for Ivy matches against Columbia and Dartmouth. The only goal he allowed in Penn's 1-0 loss to the Lions came on a penalty kick. Overall, Smith's goals-against average is 2.00.
Quoting Head Coach Rudy Fuller
"We are approaching this game as we do every other, in that we want to come out of it with a win. Obviously it takes on added importance anytime you play an Ivy League team."
"Not having a midweek game this week has allowed us to spend more time on some of the things we needed to improve. Perhaps just as important, though, is it has allowed some of our guys who werea little banged up to heal a bit. It gave us a chance to get healthy."
"Despite our result last weekend against Dartmouth, I felt like we probably had our best performance of the three Ivy games we've played. Our young guys are starting to understand what it takes in league matches. Now we are looking to build on last weekend against Yale."