No. 4 Women's Lacrosse Begins Ivy Play Against Harvard

PHILADELPHIA - After returning to the win column on Wednesday with a 6-5 defeat of Hofstra, the fourth-ranked Penn Quakers begin their defense of the Ivy League championship on Saturday against Harvard. First draw is scheduled for noon at Franklin Field.

The Quakers have won three Ivy titles in a row and are looking to add a fourth. The Red and Blue have won 22 Ancient Eight games in a row dating back to the 2006 season, with their last loss coming at the hands of Princeton, 8-7, on 4/19/06. Penn's last loss at home in an Ivy game came on 4/16/05, a 10-8 defeat at the hands of Dartmouth.

Penn's offense has cooled a bit after scoring 29 goals in two games to start the season. Since then, the Quakers have scored 12 goals - six each in games at North Carolina and against Hofstra. The difference between those two six-goal affairs was Penn clamping down on defense. Unlike the road loss to the Tar Heels, Wednesday's game against the Pride resulted in a Penn win thanks in part to big saves from Emily Szelest and strong team defense in the middle stages of the game and, most importantly, in the final five minutes.

The Quakers have won the last nine meetings against Harvard, including an 18-9 win in Cambridge last season. Eight different players had at least one goal for Penn in the win, led by Emma Spiro's four. Spiro has not played for the Quakers since the 2010 opener at Drexel while nursing an ankle injury. While the 2009 first-team All-America recovers, Courtney Lubbe and Giulia Giordano have stepped up to help fill the void on offense. Both have five goals and the duo has combined for 17 assists already this season. Last time out against the Crimson, both Lubbe and Giordano scored twice.

Harvard is 2-1 so far in 2010, and is coming off a 10-9 win in double overtime at No. 15 New Hampshire. Melanie Baskind scored the game-winner for Harvard. Freshman Jennifer VanderMeulen scored five goals to pace the Crimson. She leads Harvard with 10 goals. Baskind and Alexis Dal Col each have six scores for the Crimson. Katherine Martino has played every minute in goal for Harvard, making 25 saves (.439 save%) and posting a 10.18 GAA.