PHILADELPHIA – Penn heads out on its first Ivy League road trip of 2013 this weekend, making the short trip to New York City to take on Columbia at 7:30 p.m.
The Quakers (4-6-0, 1-0-0 Ivy) have won their last two matches, including a 1-0 win over defending Ivy League champion Cornell last Saturday. Columbia (5-2-1, 0-0-1 Ivy) is arguably one of the hottest clubs in the country, with a six-match unbeaten streak after two losses to commence the season.
The Ivy League’s top two offenses will meet at the dedication of Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium in the Big Apple, with a combined 32 goals scored between the two sides. Penn’s 17 goals are the most scored by any Ancient Eight team, with the Lions right behind with 15. Nationally, Penn’s 17 goals scored rank the Quakers in the top 17% of all Division I teams.
Three players who are among a group tied for second in the Ivy League in goals scored will suit up Saturday night, each with four goals this season. Penn is led by Duke Lacroix and Sam Hayward, the latter leading all Ivy League rookies in scoring. For Columbia, David Najem has four goals – a new career high.
Each side has numerous secondary scoring options. Outside of the top duo of Lacroix and Hayward, the Quakers have had five different players score at least one goal this season. Stephen Baker, Alec Neumann and Louis Schott each have two goals this season, but all three have been held off the scoresheet since early September. Last week, senior captain Jonny Dolezal had the lone goal in Penn’s 1-0 win over Cornell.
Dolezal has helped a defense which had its finest moment to date in 2013 against the Big Red last weekend. The Quakers held the Big Red off the scoreboard despite seven shots on goal, posting their third shutout of the season. Tyler Kinn and Max Polkinhorne has combined to make 52 saves and a .754 save percentage – Polkinhorne making 14 of those saves in his two starts last week.
Penn will be looking for its first win away from University City this season, entering the trip to NYC with an 0-3-0 mark in road contests. Each of those losses has come by one goal, and Penn held a lead in two while taking the third to overtime. Penn’s last trip to Columbia resulted in a 3-2 win on 10/8/11. Christian Barreiro had the winning score in the game, sending in a Duke Lacroix pass with 44 seconds left in regulation to complete a wild Penn comeback. The Quakers trailed, 2-0, 7:15 into the match, but two Thomas Brandt goals before halftime catapulted the Red and Blue right back into the match.
All-time against the Lions, Penn is 32-29-5 entering the 67th meeting between the two clubs. Penn holds a 6-4-0 record in the last ten overall meetings.
After dropping a pair of matches to Creighton and Nebraska-Omaha during a swing through the Cornhusker State, the Lions have rattled off an unbeaten streak of six matches dating back to Sept. 14. Columbia has outscored its opponents, 14-4 over that run, posting five wins and a draw. The tie was Columbia’s most recent match – a 2-2 draw with Brown to start Ivy League play. The Lions scored twice to erase an early Brown lead. Will Stamatis (29’) and Andrew Tinari (38’) had the equalizing goals for the Lions. Columbia is 3-1-0 on its home pitch this season.