TV: The game is being recorded for a tape-delayed broadcast on Verizon Fios 1 in the New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y. areas. Broadcast times will be announced when available.
PHILADELPHIA - No. 13 Penn has navigated the first five weeks of the Ivy League portion of its schedule successfully, entering this weekend with a 5-0-0 record in Ancient Eight play.
Normally, a 5-0-0 record in conference play would have a team well out in front, but while Penn has taken care of its own business, so has No. 16 Princeton. The Tigers, winners of 10 matches in a row, are also 5-0-0 in the Ivy League, leaving the two sides tied for first with 15 points.
So far this season, the two teams have earned clean records in the conference - all wins, nothing else. That will change on Saturday as the two sides meet in Princeton at 7 p.m.
At stake - only the Ivy League championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Should a clear winner be determined either in regulation or in overtime, that team will clinch at least a share of the Ivy title and hold the tiebreaker in terms of the berth to the national tournament. If the match goes the full 110 minutes without a winner, nothing changes and the Ivy title will be decided in the league's final weekend.
There is an air of history surrounding the match as this marks the first time the Ivy League men's soccer championship has come down to Penn and Princeton. The two schools have combined for 13 Ivy titles over the years, but never has the annual meeting carried as much weight as the one on Saturday does. In addition to clinching an Ivy title and an NCAA bid, the winner continues its quest to do something only 10 other Ivy teams have done since 1955 - finish a conference schedule with a 7-0-0 record. Penn has one of those teams, the 1971 club. Princeton has never had a team finish the Ancient Eight schedule with a 7-0-0 record.
The roads taken by both teams to the shared perch atop the Ivy League could not be more different. The Quakers have not allowed a goal in Ivy League play, posting five shutouts while scoring just six goals of their own. Princeton has scored 12 goals in Ivy games, including 2+ in four of those contests. In two of the five games, Princeton had to rally in the second half to secure the win.
However the two teams have arrived at this point, the fact remains that whatever happened leading up to Saturday's match pales in comparison to what takes place at Roberts Stadium.
Princeton's offense features three of the top four scorers in the Ivy League with Antoine Hoppenot (seven), Josh Walburn (six) and Matt Sanner (five) giving the Tigers a three-pronged attack up front. Those three, however, trail Penn's Stephen Baker in the goal-scoring race as the rookie has eight goals in his first collegiate season - including four game-winners. Both teams have prolific playmakers in the Ivy League's leaders in assists - Wallburn and Penn's Christian Barreiro.
In goal, Penn has one of the nation's top keepers in Ben Berg. He ranks sixth in the country in save percentage (.873) and eighth in goals-against average (0.52). Princeton's Sean Lynch has been the busiest goalkeeper in the league, with the most saves (60) and saves-per-game (4.00).
The two teams have six non-conference opponents in 2010, with Penn holding a 4-2-0 record against those teams while Princeton has gone 3-2-1 against Lafayette, Villanova (L), Georgetown (T), American (L), Adelphi and Richmond.
No. 13 Penn (12-3-0, 5-0-0 Ivy) at No. 16 Princeton (11-3-1, 5-0-0 Ivy)
Saturday, November 6 - 7 p.m. at Roberts Stadium
All-Time Series: Penn leads, 47-41-10
Last Meeting: Princeton 3, Penn 1 at Penn (11/7/09)
Princeton claimed its third win in a row over Penn on the strength of two first-half goals. Antoine Hoppenot scored in the 23rd minute before Ben Harms added a second goal in the 39th minute. Jason Gorskie got one back for Penn in the 54th minute on an assist from Christian Barreiro, but Matt Sanner provided breathing room in the 63rd minute. Josh Walburn had two assists for Princeton.
Notes on Penn: The Quakers are looking to clinch their eighth Ivy title and first since 2008 ... Penn is 8-3 in games decided by one goal and 3-0 in overtime games (1-0 in 2 OT) ... Penn is 1-1 at Roberts Stadium in 2010, splitting games at the Princeton Tournament in September ... Overall in 2010, Penn is 6-1 away from Rhodes Field and 5-0 in true road games.
Notes on Princeton: The Tigers are on a 10-match winning streak after starting the year 1-3-1 ... Matt Sanner has nine points in his last three matches ... The Tigers are 5-2-0 in games decided by a goal ... Princeton has scored three goals in eight matches, including seven in a row from 9/24-10/16 ... Princeton is 6-1-1 at home.