PHILADELPHIA - The No. 25 men's soccer team will make the short drive to Princeton this weekend, but nor to revisit the rivalry with the Tigers. Instead, the Quakers are adding some punch to the 2010 Princeton Men's Soccer Invitational, convening with Princeton, Adelphi and Richmond for a series of matches at Roberts Stadium. The Red and Blue will play Adelphi first on Friday at 5 p.m. followed by a Sunday tilt with Richmond at noon.
The Quakers held on to a spot in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Division I poll this week despite a 1-1 weekend in the Ivy League Big East Classic. While the Red and Blue did suffer their first loss of 2010 against Villanova last Friday, the club showed some moxie with a three-goal rally at Georgetown two days later to get back on the winning side of things.
One thing head coach Rudy Fuller will be looking to see his team improve in will be the start of matches. Dating back to Penn's win over Lafayette on Sept. 12, Penn has allowed opponents to score the first goal in its last three outings. In each of those games, the opponent has scored before the clock has reached 16 minutes. The ability of Penn to rally for wins in two of those three matches is a plus, but no doubt Fuller and the rest of the club would like to stay away from needing the big comeback.
One reason the early goal hasn't completely done in the Quakers is the goaltending of Ben Berg. The senior is 5-1-0 this season, patrolling the net for every minute of play. His five victories are a career high. He is second in the Ivy League in goals-against average (0.66) and in save percentage (.871). His save percentage is 22nd in the NCAA while his GAA is 32nd. Both numbers are 17th among keepers with as many minutes played as Berg.
As a club, Penn is ranked 28th out of 201 teams in scoring defense with the 0.66 goals-per-game allowed. On the opposite side of the ball, the Quakers are ranked 18th of 201 clubs in scoring offense, scoring 2.33 gpg.
A good portion of that offense has come from freshman Stephen Baker. The rookie leads all Ivy League players in scoring with 14 points. His six goals are also tops in the Ancient Eight. Baker is tied for third in the NCAA in points, and has the highest point total in the country among freshmen. He is also third in goals and fourth in goals-per-game.
Adelphi enters the weekend with a 4-2 record and is hovering in the "Also Receiving Votes" section of the national poll. The Panthers have spent extra time on the pitch frequently this year, going to overtime three times. The Panthers have gained victories in two of those matches while recording their other two wins by large-margined shutout. Thorne Holder has started all six games in goal, and has three shutouts and a 0.47 GAA. Senior Alexander Kouznetsov has three goals to lead the offense. The Panthers are rolling, with wins in their last two outings by a combined 6-0 - a far cry from the two opening games of the season that were 1-0 Adelphia wins in double overtime.
Richmond enters the weekend with a 1-4-1 record. After a 3-2 (2 OT) win over Longwood to start the season, the Spiders have gone five matches without a win - four outings in a row ending with a loss. Over the four-game losing skid, Richmond has been outscored, 11-2, including a 2-1 loss to George Mason last time out. Freshman Spencer Schiff has a goal and two assists to lead Richmond's offense.
No. 25 Penn vs. Adelphi - Friday, Sept. 24, 5 p.m. at Princeton (Live Broadcast - Live Stats)
All-Time Series: First Meeting
Notes on Penn: The Quakers are in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Division I Poll for the second week in a row, sitting at No. 25 ... Stephen Baker leads the Ivy League in scoring with 14 points ... That total is tied for third in the country and is the highest output by a freshman player ... Ben Berg has set a new career high with five wins ... He is 22nd in the country in save% (.871).
Notes on Adelphi: Adelphi is 4-2 overall, playing three overtime games and winning two of those three. The Panthers defeated Iona 2-0 on Sept. 14 and VMI 4-0 on Sept. 19. Pacing the Panthers offense is senior Alexander Kouznetsov with three goals. Sophomores Sam Vanaria and Issa Tall have five and four points respectively. Six other players have one point of more. Thorne Holder has started all six games in goal and has three shutouts. He's made 21 saves on 24 shots for a 0.47 goals against average and an .875 save percentage. Holder ranks 16th in the nation in GAA and 18th in save percentage.
No. 25 Penn vs. Richmond - Sunday, Sept. 26, noon at Princeton (Live Broadcast - Live Stats)
All-Time Series: Richmond leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: 2000 - Richmond 6, Penn 1 (Richmond Nike Challenge Cup)
Robb Jankura had the goal for Penn in a tough loss at Richmond. The Spider scored four times in the first half to put the game out of reach.
Notes on Penn: Notes on Penn: The Quakers are in the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com Division I Poll for the second week in a row, sitting at No. 25 ... Stephen Baker leads the Ivy League in scoring with 14 points ... That total is tied for third in the country and is the highest output by a freshman player ... Ben Berg has set a new career high with five wins ... He is 22nd in the country in save% (.871).
Notes on Richmond: Richmond is looking to snap a five-game unbeaten streak as the team owns a 1-4-1 record. Freshman midfielder Spencer Schiff leads the Spiders offensively with one goal and two assists for four points. Senior Rob Scherer and junior Ben Brewster have three points apiece while sophomore Houston Oldham, junior Jed Antoun and senior Jake Russell have each scored a goal. Junior Brock Tomlinson has played every minute in goal for Richmond and has made 29 saves on 43 shots for a 2.19 goals against average and a .674 save percentage.