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PHILADELPHIA - Week Two of the Ivy League season has Penn travelling to the Big Apple on Saturday to take on Columbia (4 p.m., Columbia Soccer Stadium) as the Quakers look to get in the win column inside the Ancient Eight.
The Red and Blue (5-4-1, 0-1-0 Ivy) want no part of a second loss inside the League early in conference play after an opening weekend which produced four winners and no draws. One of those winners was this weekend's opponent, Columbia, which downed Brown in double overtime, 2-1. The Lions are 4-5-1 overall to go with their 1-0-0 beginning to Ivy play. The win over the Bears was much needed for the Lions, as Columbia hadn't won in six matches prior to the extra time victory. In fact, the Lions hadn't scored in their previous five matches before netting a pair last Saturday - a stretch of 561:47 of game action.
However, Will Stamatis scored his third overtime game-winner of the season to give Columbia its first win since 1992 over Brown and move the Lions into the four-way logjam atop the Ivy standings after Week One. Penn's scouting report on Stamatis likely instructs defenders to pay extra attention to the junior in overtime of 1-1 games. All thereof his overtime winners have broken 1-1 deadlocks in favor of the Lions this season. Overall, he has four goals to lead the club, accounting for 50% of Columbia's scoring.
An interesting matchup will feature two of the Ivy League's super sophomores in Penn's Stephen Baker and Columbia's Henning Sauerbier. Last year, Sauerbier was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year with four goals and two assists while Baker second-team All-Ivy, third-team All-Region and twice named to a national All-Rookie team after leading the Quakers with eight goals and 18 total points. This season, Sauerbier has a goal and two assists in 10 matches, while Baker is back on a similar pace to 2010 with four goals and two assists.
As a team, Penn still ranks atop the Ivy League with 17 goals this season, but he Red and Blue have been stymied on the offensive side in their last two outings. After scoring seven goals in two matches to win the Penn Soccer Classic, the Quakers have not connected on a scoring play in their last two games. Shots have not been the issue for the Red and Blue in the losses to Cornell and Penn State, as Penn took 24 combined shots in the two matches, but clearly finishing has eluded Penn's dangerous trio of Baker, Duke Lacroix and Christian Barreiro.
Last year, Travis Cantrell scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Penn over Columbia in Philadelphia. He knocked in a Barreiro pass in the 38th minute, a great combo play started by Barreiro on the far side of the field and finished by a charging Cantrell just past the dive of the keeper.
All eight Ivy teams are in action on Saturday as the League standings look to shake up even more. Two teams who had stellar 2010 seasons but find themselves behind to start 2011 will meet in Providence when defending Ivy champ Princeton takes on a Brown team which advanced to the third round of the NCAAs last year. Harvard (2-6-1, 0-1-0) heads to Ithaca to play arguably the hottest team in the country in Cornell (5-1-3, 1-0-0). Cornell is unbeaten in eight games while Harvard has scored just four goals this season. Two teams off to 1-0-0 starts in the League will meet when Dartmouth (4-3-2) heads to Yale (5-4-1) for a 3 p.m. tilt.