PHILADELPHIA - No. 23 Penn finds itself entering the second weekend of Ivy League play locked in a four-way tie atop the Ancient Eight standings with four clubs at 1-0. The Red and Blue will be looking to add a second Ivy win to its resume this Saturday when Columbia heads to Rhodes Field for a 7 p.m. tilt.
The Quakers, 7-2-0 overall in 2010, will be returning to their home field for the first time in four matches. Since they last played at Rhodes Field, the Quakers have gone 3-1-0 while defeating teams from the Big East (Georgetown) and Atlantic 10 (Richmond) in addition to the Ivy opener over Cornell.
Penn possesses one of the Ivy League's most potent offenses, matching Princeton for the lead in goals scored with 17. On the flip side, the Quakers have excelled at keeping teams off the scoreboard, limiting opponents to six total goals (0.67 gpg). In the national rankings, Penn is tied for 29th in goals for and 24th in goals against. The Quakers are one of just 10 teams in Division I to be ranked in the Top 30 in both categories.
The Lions are 4-5-1 overall in 2010, and 0-1-0 in the Ivy League. Columbia has had issues on defense, allowing 15 goals over 10 games - tied for most in the Ancient Eight. The Lions had rattled off three wins in a row over Seton Hall, Long Island and Delaware before falling in its Ivy opener to No. 17 Brown, 3-0.
Youth will be served on Saturday night as players in the match have scored a combined five Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors in 2010. Penn's freshman forward Stephen Baker has twice won the award as has Columbia's Henning Sauerbeier. David Najem has also earned a weekly honor from the Ivy League.
Baker leads the Ivy League in goals with seven and leads the Ancient Eight in points with 16. His numbers also rank high nationally as he sits tied for fourth in goals and sixth in total points. Among freshmen nationally, he is tied for first in both categories.
Penn's veteran back end will be counted on to contain a Columbia attack which is well-balanced. Goalkeeper Ben Berg, defenders Zach Barnett, Thomas Brandt, Jake Levin and Steven Schlaefer as well as midfielder Jason Gorskie all responded well in the Cornell match and are primed to do so against the Lions. Sauerbeier leads the club with three goals and two assists while Bayo Adafin and Will Stamatis each have added a pair of goals. 10 different players have at least one assist for the Lions, causing defenses to worry about a host of players when Columbia is on the offensive.
No. 23 Penn (7-2-0, 1-0-0 Ivy) vs. Columbia (4-5-1, 0-1-0 Ivy)
At Rhodes Field - Saturday, October 9; 7 p.m.
All-Time Series: Penn leads 25-22-4
Last Meeting: Columba 1, Penn 0 - 10/10/09 at Columbia
Peppe Carotenuto scored on a penalty kick in the 80th minute, providing the difference as Columbia picked up its first Ivy win of 2009. Alexander Aurrichio made five saves for the win while Garon Smith made five stops in his first career start for the Quakers.
Notes on Penn: The Quakers are looking to improve to 2-0 in the Ivy League for the first time since 2006 ... Penn is in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Division I rankings for the third time this season ... Ben Berg has three shutouts this season and seven for his career.
Notes on Columbia: Columbia has defeated at least one ranked opponent in each of the last two seasons, including last year's road victory over #15 Dartmouth ... First-year Henning Sauerbier is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week, after tallying a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Delaware on Sept. 28. Sauerbier has won the award twice this season, while classmate David Najem was honored by the league on Sept. 27 ... Ten different Lions have registered assists this season, the most since 12 Columbia men's soccer players had assists in 2006. John Mulhern '07CC led the group with eight assists that year en route to second team All-Ivy League accolades.