Men's Soccer Set to Defend Crown in Penn Soccer Classic

PHILADELPHIA - Almost two years have passed since Penn had its 2008 NCAA Tournament experience ended in the first round by George Mason. For the 13 members of Penn's squad remaining from that club, Friday night provides a chance for a modicum of revenge when the Patriots come to Philly as part of the 2010 Penn Soccer Classic (8 p.m.). The other two teams in the Classic are Villanova and Lafayette, who also play on Friday (at Villanova). Lafayette heads to Rhodes Field on Sunday (5 p.m.) to complete Penn's play in its own tournament.

Penn enters the weekend with serious momentum after a sweep of Philadelphia Soccer Six schools Saint Joseph's and La Salle last week. The Quakers put up seven goals while registering two clean sheets, as both offense and defense jumped out to good starts for the 2010 season. The Red and Blue caught the eye of the national polls, showing up in the "Also Receiving Votes" section for the first time all season.

George Mason is also in the ARV category, but the Patriots' 44 votes rank them one spot removed from the Top 25. GMU opened its 2010 season with a pair of wins over D.C. teams, defeating George Washington, 3-1, and American by a 1-0 score. The Patriots added a nine-member recruiting class for 2010, a group ranked No. 13 in the country by College Soccer News. GMU did not return to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, but still picked up 10 wins and returns 14 upperclassmen who have loads of experience and 23 combined wins over the last two years.

On Sunday, the Quakers host the Leopards, another team entering the weekend feeling pretty good about the way 2010 began. Last week, Lafayette hosted its own tournament, and emerged as champion with wins over Stony Brook (3-1) and Temple (1-0). The Leopards are hoping to build on a 2009 campaign which saw the 'Pards win 10 games and earn a berth in the Patriot League playoffs where they fell in overtime to No. 1 seed Bucknell. Youth is a big component of Lafayette's game, with 17 freshmen or sophomores on the roster. So far, in three games, Lafayette has seen six different players account for its half-dozen goals.

Penn vs. George Mason - Sept. 10, 8 p.m. (Live Stats)

All-Time Series: Penn trails, 0-2

Last Meeting: George Mason 1, Penn 0 - 11/21/08 (NCAA Tournament First Round, Fairfax, Va.)

Penn entered the contest ranked No. 20 in the nation, but headed south to George Mason. An entertaining first half saw both sides attempt a penalty kick after hand balls in the box - and both PKs were stopped. In the 47th minute, Eber Martinez scored the game-winner for GMU on a 25-yard shot. Penn brought pressure in the final minutes hoping for a tying goal, but was denied.

Notes on Penn: The Quakers scored seven goals last weekend in the two wins. In 2009, they scored 22 goals all season ... Freshman forward Stephen Baker was named Ivy League Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week (9/6) after scoring three goals and an assist in his first collegiate weekend ... His seven points is already three more than any Penn rookie had in 2009 ... Ben Berg has two shutouts already in 2010, giving him six career clean sheets ... His scoreless streak stands at 180:00, as his last goal allowed came in an overtime loss to American 10/13/09.

Notes on George Mason: The Patriots enter the weekend 2-0, with wins over George Washington (3-1) and American (1-0) ... Four different players have scored for Mason, including junior Eber Martinez who scored the game-winner against Penn in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 ... Senior midfielder Brent Brockman has two assists ... Freshman keeper Sean Cote has played both matches and is 2-0-0 with a shutout in 135:00, without allowing a goal ... For his efforts, Cote was named CAA Rookie of the Week.

Penn vs. Lafayette - Sept. 12, 5 p.m. (Live Stats)

All-Time Series: Penn leads, 9-7-1

Last Meeting: Lafayette 2, Penn 0 (9/7/01 at Easton, Pa.)

In a game with limited scoring chances (Three shots for Penn and six for Lafayette), the host Leopards connected once in each half for a 2-0 win over Penn. Mike Saloni headed in the first goal in the 39th minute before Paulo Coelho sent in a long bomb over the keeper in the 90th minute, with one second left in the game.

Notes on Penn: The Quakers scored seven goals last weekend in the two wins. In 2009, they scored 22 goals all season ... Freshman forward Stephen Baker was named Ivy League Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week (9/6) after scoring three goals and an assist in his first collegiate weekend ... His seven points is already three more than any Penn rookie had in 2009 ... Ben Berg has two shutouts already in 2010, giving him six career clean sheets ... His scoreless streak stands at 180:00, as his last goal allowed came in an overtime loss to American 10/13/09.

Notes on Lafayette: The Leopards are 3-0-0 to start 2010 ... Last weekend, Lafayette downed Stony Brook (3-1) and Temple (1-0) to win the Lafayette Puma Classic ... Six different players have scored Lafayette's six goals ... Three players have a goal and an assist - Stephen Macurdy, Sean Peckham and Sam Feldbaum ... Peckham connected on a penalty kick in the win over Temple ... Andrew Pianko has played every minute so far, with a 0.67 GAA and 19 saves (.905%) ... He was named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week for his opening performance.