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PHILADELPHIA - No. 12 Penn (4-1, 2-0 Ivy) again ventures into its challenging non-conference schedule on Wednesday, hosting No. 2 Maryland (9-0, 3-0 ACC) at 7 p.m.
The Quakers have dropped five in a row to the Terrapins since picking up a 9-7 win in the NCAA Tournament in 2007, including two in West Philadelphia. All-time, Maryland holds a decided edge in the series, 18-2. Both wins for the Quakers have come at Franklin Field.
Wednesday’s game will see two of the top team defenses in the nation do battle. The home-standing Quakers are allowing just 7.4 goals-per-game through five games this season to rank 11th in the country. The visitors have also been stingy as a defensive unit, conceding 6.56 goals-per-game over their nine outings in 2014. Of late, Maryland has seen some cracks in its defense though, with 10 goals allowed in three of its last four games –each to a top-10 opponent. Before this recent stretch, the Terps hadn’t allowed more than 8 and had seen five or fewer allowed three times.
The Red and Blue have cracked double figures in goals twice this season, hitting 11 in their first game of the season and their most recent. Tory Bensen leads the Quakers with 13 goals, but Penn has had its goal scoring spread around to 11 different players throughout the first five games of 2014. Sophomore Lely DeSimone, who played in every game of 2013 on the defensive side of the ball is second on the team in scoring with nine goals and is coming off her most prolific offensive game as a collegiate player with four goals against Yale last weekend. Penn’s sophomore class has carried the bulk of the offensive production for the Red and Blue through five games, with second-year plays Nine Corcoran (five), Iris Williamson (four) and Catherine Dickinson (one) joining with DeSimone to account for 19 of Penn’s 45 goals this season.
While both teams are among to upper echelon of the nation in team defense, Maryland has been finding that back of the net at a higher rate with 15.7 goals-per-game to rank No. 7 in the nation in scoring offense. The Terps have scored 14 or more goals in nine of 10 games this season, and the fewest totaled by the Terps in a game was 12 in a win at then No. 2 Syracuse last weekend. Sophomore Taylor Cummings, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-American, is again leading the way for the Terrapins with 28 goals and 41 points, numbers which rank sixth and seventh in the nation. Junior Kelly McPartland is 10th in Division I in goals with 25 while Brooke Griffin has 22 to give Maryland three players already over 20 goals this season.
Charged with containing the powerful Maryland offense will be the Quaker defense led by the nation’s top ground ball producer in Meg Markham. The junior is averaging 4.4 ground balls per game and also ranks fourth in the country in caused turnovers with 3.2 per game. As a team, Penn leads the Ivy League and is eighth in the nation in caused turnovers with an average of 11.6 per game. Already this season, Penn has played a high-powered offense (No. 1 North Carolina, 20.2 goals-per-game at the time of the meeting) and held the Tar Heels to just 13 and went toe-to-toe- with UNC in an eventual 13-8 loss.
The Terps have won nine in a row to start 2014 and 31 of their last 32 – the only loss coming in triple overtime to North Carolina in last season’s national title game.
Download: 2014 Notes.pdf