PHILADELPHIA--The No. 21 Penn men’s soccer team faces a hefty challenge this weekend in its final road contest of the regular season. Not only do the Quakers face their archrival Princeton, they will play the match at the Tigers’ home, a place that has given the Quakers trouble in the past.
The good news if you’re a Penn fan is that the Quakers’ trouble occured at the Lourie Love Field, the Tigers’ old stadium. Princeton now calls Roberts Stadium home, and in the new facility’s inaugural season the Quakers are already two-for-two, beating Seton Hall and American to win the Princeton Invitational earlier this season. Also in Penn’s favor is recent history -- though they lost at home last season, the Quakers defeated the Tigers in 2006, the last time they played at Princeton.
So, historical fun facts aside, this year’s match-up looks to provide interesting challenges for both teams. Both teams have several offensive threats and boast 10 different goalscorers this season. With no particular go-to attacker on either side, both teams will have to play solid team defense.
Providing that defense for the Quakers are a back four that has started all 15 games and played nearly every minute. However, a mantra for the Red and Blue all season has been “11 defenders,” a motto that has paid dividends in the form of nine shutouts and the 17th-best goals-against average in the country.
As for goal production, scores have been hard to come by in the 10 Penn-Princeton games during Head Coach Rudy Fuller’s tenure -- half of them have been 1-0 decisions. However, this season the Penn offense has produced 31 goals, the most by any Quaker team since the 1983 squad put 32 in the back of the net.
The team’s 2.07 goals-per-game average ranks 14th in the country. What’s more impressive is the fact that the Quakers are one of just six teams nationally to boast marks in the top-20 in both scoring offense and goals against.
Game time is set for 1 p.m., with a live blog by Penn Athletic Communications Associate Director Jen Werner.