PHILADELPHIA - Penn's last weekend before men's soccer begins Ivy League play features the Quakers (3-2-1) hosting the annual Penn Soccer Classic, with Stony Brook (Saturday, 1 p.m.) and Long Island (Sun., 6 p.m.) set for action this weekend. Both matches in the tournament on Saturday -- with Temple and Long Island also in action -- are set to take place at Penn Park. The games will be the first NCAA intercollegiate games held at Penn Park which opened last Thursday.
The Quakers are 1-0-1 on their home field this season, with a 5-1 win over Saint Joseph's and a 1-1 tie with Georgetown to show for two very good efforts on their home pitch. Last Friday's outing with the Hoyas was one of the more entertaining matches of the season, with 37 combined shots between the two teams, 17 total saves and a wildly entertaining final 35 minutes of play which featured a red card, two goals (one a penalty kick by Penn's Christian Barreiro to tie the match in the 81st minute), and multiple chances for the Quakers to win in extra time.
On Sunday, Penn connected on its early chances at Villanova, scoring twice in the first half en route to a 2-1 win. Stephen Baker had both of those goals, scoring twice within 6:30 of each other for his first multi-goal outing of 2011. The Wildcats closed within one on a penalty kick in the 86th minute, but could not find the equalizer as Penn claimed a share of the Ivy League/BIG EAST Classic title.
This weekend's matches are two-thirds of a New York-style sequence in Penn's schedule, as the Quakers will then host Cornell on Oct. 1 in the Ivy League-opener. In fact, four of Penn's next five tilts are against teams from the Empire State, with Columbia farther on the horizon on Oct. 8 after a trip to Happy Valley and Penn State on Oct. 4.
The Quakers have been the most active team in the Ivy League this season in terms of shots taken, sending 121 attempts towards goal over the first six games. Baker has been Penn's leading shot taker with 37 attempts - which is ten more than any other player in the Ivy League. He has scored on three of his shots, which leads the Red and Blue and ranks second in the Ancient Eight.
Baker has benefitted once again from playing alongside Christian Barreiro, as the senior midfielder has provided the assist on two of Baker's goals and finds himself tied atop the Ivy leaders in helpers with three. Barreiro now has 14 career assists and is closing in on cracking the top five on Penn's career rankings.
As a team, the Quakers rank second in the Ivy League in team defense, allowing 0.96 goals-per-game. Max Kurtzman has played every minute in goal for the Quakers and has made 20 total saves (.769 save percentage). He has allowed just six goals, which is tied for second in the Ivy League. Kurtzman's job has been made easier with solid play from Penn's back four of Thomas Brandt, Jake Levin, Jonny Dolezal and Nicky Yin. On set pieces, the four defenders and Kurtzman have been the group dictating play, allowing just one goal on a restart all season.
On Friday, Kurtzman and the Quakers will be contending with a Stony Brook club entering the weekend with a 3-3-2 record. After just one win in their first six matches, the Seawolves have won their last two outings, outscoring Fairleigh Dickinson and Fairfield by a combined score of 6-2. On Tuesday, Berian Gobeil scored twice to propel the Seawolves to a 4-1 win over Fairfield. Stony Brook was down early after allowing a goal in the opening eight minutes, but scored four times in the final 67 minutes for the win.
Gobeil has three goals this season to lead Stony Brook, which has scored 10 total goals in eight matches. He is Stony Brook's most potent offensive threat, with 14 total goals in two-plus seasons. Leonardo Fernandes was the America East Midfielder of the Year in 2010, scoring six goals in his follow-up to 2009 where he was named America East Rookie of the Year.
Stony Brook is in its first season under head coach Ryan Anatol, who came to the Seawolves after six seasons as an assistant at South Florida where his teams went 74-33-18 with five NCAA Tournament appearances and one BIG EAST title.
The weekend concludes with Long Island coming to Rhodes Field for Penn's final Sunday game of the 2011 regular season. The Blackbirds are 1-3-2 this season, with a 1-0 win at Rider coming on Sept. 9. The Blackbirds opened their season with a 2-2 tie against San Diego State on Sept. 2 - an Aztec team which defeated the Quakers, 2-0, two weeks ago. Last weekend, the Blackbirds dropped a pair of games at Cornell (2-0) and Colgate (2-1) as part of the Inaria Classic.
Long Island has scored just four goals in six matches, with two coming off the foot of Elliot Kane. The junior midfielder has already matched his career high which he set in 2009. Adam Janssen has started four games in goal for the Blackbirds, with 38 saves and a goals-against average of 0.90. Another player to watch for LIU is senior forward Steve Jakubowski who was a first-team ALL-NEC selection in 2010after he led his team with 14 points.
In terms of all-time results, there isn't much to report between Penn and its two opponents this weekend. The Quakers do own a 1-0-0 record against Stony Brook, defeating the Seawolves in 1999, 2-0. Sunday's match will be the first-ever meeting between Penn and Long Island.