PHILADELPHIA - No. 14 Penn takes on arguably its most challenging opponent of 2010 Saturday night, hosting No. 13 Brown in a pivotal Ivy League match.
The Quakers are tied atop the Ivy League standings with Princeton, both teams at 4-0-0 in Ancient Eight play. Brown is right behind in third place with a 2-1- record. In fact, Brown's only loss is in Ivy play, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Princeton. Overall, the Bears are 10-1-3 while Penn boasts an 11-3-0 record.
The storyline for this game has to be centered around the goalkeepers. Both sides feature senior goalkeepers, although the pair has come to man their respective creases in different ways. Penn's Ben Berg has come back strong in his senior season after struggling to find his game in 2009. Brown's Paul Grandstrand is the reigning first-team All-Ivy goalkeeper and was second-team All-Ivy and Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 2007.
While the roads each man traveled to the 2010 campaign have differed, this season has been similar in the high quality of goalkeeping both Berg and Grandstrand have provided their teams.
The two keepers entered the week ranked high in both goals-against average and save percentage. Berg is seventh in GAA (0.52) and fourth in save% (.862) while Grandstrand is second in GAA (0.34) and save% (.909). Each keeper has worked with his defense to post shutout after shutout this year. Berg has seven clean sheets, including five in a row from Oct. 2-Oct. 23 while Grandstrand has 11 shutouts with two different streaks of four in a row included.
Offensively, both teams are even in terms of goals scored with 23 goals this season. Along the same lines, both sides have relied on a balanced attack. Stephen Baker is the player in he match with the most goals scored with seven, but he is riding a six-match scoreless streak and is due for a resurgence at the forward spot. Sean Rosa is Brown's leading scorer with five goals and 13 points. After the two leading scorers, the two teams feature a host of players who have scored between two and four goals, giving the head coaches many options when deciding who to focus defensive assignments on.
The weekend is a big one across the Ivy League, as No. 20 Princeton looks to keep pace with Penn while heading to Ithaca to face Cornell. Harvard, sitting in fourth place and holding on to an outside shot at defending its Ivy title, heads to Dartmouth.
No. 14 Penn (11-3-0, 4-0-0 Ivy) vs. No. 13 Brown (10-1-3, 2-1-1, Ivy)
Saturday, October 30 - 7:30 p.m. - Rhodes Field
All-Time Series: Brown leads, 28-22-7
Last Meeting: Penn 1, No. 20 Brown, 0 - Nov. 1, 2009 at Brown
Loukas Tasigianis scored in the 15th minute, finishing a combination started by Aaron Ross and filtered through Michael Kozak. Garon Smith made six saves to preserve the shutout, Penn's second in a row.
Notes on Penn: The Quakers had a streak of 549:40 without allowing a goal snapped in a 2-1 loss to Penn State on Wednesday ... The Quakers had not given up a score since Sept. 26 and played over nine hours of match time during the run ... That stretch is the second-longest in Penn history, trailing only the 684:12 Drew Healy posted from 2007-08 ... Christian Barreiro has points in eight of Penn's 14 matches, including the last three.
Notes on Brown: The Bears are playing their third match against a ranked opponent, posting wins in each outing (2-1 over #24 Indiana and 1-0 over #22 St. John's) ... Brown is 3-1 on the road this season, 0-1 in road Ivy matches ... Paul Grandstrand's 11 shutouts are a new Brown record for clean sheets in a season ... He is one shutout away from setting a new school record for shutouts in a career which is currently 24.