PHILADELPHIA -No. 15 Penn is once again on the road in Ivy League men's soccer action this weekend, taking its 3-0-0 Ivy mark to New Haven for a match with Yale on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Quakers, who enter the weekend with a 10-2-0 record overall, have won all three of their Ivy contests this season by 1-0 scores. Yale, 2-9-1 overall and 1-2-0 in Ancient Eight action, are coming off their first Ivy win of 2010 - a 1-0 win of its own at Cornell last weekend.
The Quakers have found different ways to put together their 1-0 wins in conference play. The first, in Ithaca against the Big Red, came via a Travis Cantrell strike in the 89th minute. The next weekend, Penn scored late in the first half and withstood a furious Columbia charge in the second period. Last weekend, the Red and Blue scored early - in the fourth minute - and cleared out nine corners from Dartmouth to stave off the Big Green.
All of the hard work on the defensive end has resulted in some national prominence for the team defense and goalkeeper Ben Berg. The senior goalkeeper has a run of 395:52 without allowing a goal, pushing him to sixth spot in Division I in save percentage (.887) and seventh in goals-against average (0.49). Only one of the players ranked ahead of him as more saves than Berg's 47. As a team, Penn ranks eighth in GAA among all NCAA clubs.
Berg, joined by defenders Zach Barnett, Thomas Brandt, Jake Levin and Steven Schlaefer, has made the singular scoring strikes by Penn's offense stand up as an attack which was on fire at the beginning of the season as slowed a bit as conference play started. The Quakers scored two or more goals on five of six matches to starts 2010, but have reached the two-goal mark just once in the last six contests. However, the lack of firepower hasn't hindered the Red and Blue as they have posted a 7-2 record in games decided by one goal.
Yale, on the other side, is 2-6 in matches decided by one score. The Bulldogs have sputtered on offense, scoring just six goals in 12 outings. Only once - a 2-1 overtime win over Sacred Heart in mid-September - as Yale scored multiple goals in one game. Over the course of the season, the Bulldogs have posted losing streaks of five and four games. Senior midfielder, Andy Shorten has been the go-to guy for the Bulldogs, with a career-high three goals. Andy Hackbarth has added a pair of goals for Yale. Bobby Thalman has played every minute in goal, with 48 saves (.727%) and a GAA of 1.43 in his first full season in goal.
No. 15 Penn (10-2-0, 3-0-0 Ivy) at Yale (2-9-1, 1-2-0)
Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m.
All-Time Series: Penn leads, 47-40-8
Last Meeting: Penn 1, Yale 0 - Oct. 24, 2009 in Philadelphia
Travis Cantrell scored in the 68th minute, providing the only offense in a 1-0 win for Penn at Rhodes Field. Cantrell pounced on a loose ball after a Penn attempt was blocked. Garon Smith made four saves in the shutout victory for Penn.
Notes on Penn: The Quakers have not allowed a goal in four-plus games dating back to Sept. 26 against Richmond ... The defense has kept opponents off the board for 395:52 in that run ... Ben Berg has six shutouts this season, tied for eighth-most in a single season by a Penn keeper ... His next clean sheet will tie him with three keepers for fifth by a Quaker ... Berg's four shutouts in a row are tied for second in a season by a Penn keeper (Jim Miller - 1972) and three behind Drew Healy's seven in 2008 for the program record.
Notes on Yale: The Bulldogs are playing their first Ivy League match at home in 2010 ... The Elis are starting a three-match home stand ... Yale has two wins in 2010 - each snapping a five-game unbeaten streak.