No. 4 Women's Lacrosse Opens Home Slate with Hofstra

PHILADELPHIA - After three road games to start the 2001 season, No. 4 Penn finally takes the field at home on Wednesday, hosting Hofstra on Franklin Field at 3 p.m. This will be the first-ever matchup between the Quakers and Pride.

Penn is looking to get back in the win column after a loss in Chapel Hill to No. 3 North Carolina, 11-6. The Quakers trailed by one after the first half, 6-5, but couldn't stop the Tar Heels early in the second as UNC took a 9-5 lead. Penn goalkeeper Emily Szelest was busy in the final 30 minutes, making six of her 11 saves.

Penn will be focused on ball control against Hofstra after struggling to gain the possession edge against UNC. In the loss Saturday, Penn was outnumbered on ground balls, 27-14, and draw controls, 13-7.

Maintaining possession will be paramount for Penn as Hofstra enters the game with an offense clicking on all cylinders. The Pride have scored 12 or more goals in all four of their games in 2010, starting the season with a 3-1 record. Hofstra has totaled 62 goals over its four games, helped in large part by a 21-goal outburst in the season-opener against St. Mary's (CA) on Feb. 20. After a 13-12 loss to No. 8 Notre Dame, Hofstra has won two in a row, with win over Albany and Cornell. Last time out, the Pride downed the Big Red in Ithaca, 12-10, rallying from a 10-8 deficit.

Senior midfielder Corrine Gandolfi leads Hofstra's offense with 12 goals and four assists. A third-team All-America and first-team All-Mid-Atlantic pick last season, Gandolfi led the CAA in scoring average last season with 4.38 ppg. Junior Stephanie Rice is second on the Pride with 10 goals. Overall, 13 different Hofstra players have at least one goal so far this season.

Katie Hersch anchors Hofstra's defense. She already has 10 ground balls, 10 draw controls and six caused turnovers. Gandolfi is also dangerous on draw controls, collecting 20 of them so far in 2010. In goal, Mary Cuddihy and Jackie Pandolf have each started two games. Cuddihy has seen time in all four contests after starting all 16 of the Pride's games in 2009. She is 2-1 this year with a 7.68 GAA and a .524 save%.

The Quakers have outscored opponents 35-21 in their first three games of 2010, but are hoping to regain the potency found in the first two games where Penn scored 29 goals. Ali DeLuca, one of four Penn players named to the Tewaaraton Trophy watch list, leads the team with 12 goals and is closing in on some history. Her 112 career goals rank third on Penn's all-time list. She trails second-place Rachel Manson (2005-08) by four and is 17 goals away from first-place Sherry Marcantonio (1980-83). In addition, DeLuca's next point will break a fourth-place tie with Chrissy Muller (2004-07) on Penn's all-time points list with 149.

After DeLuca's dozen goals, Penn has a balanced attack with three players each totaling four goals and another with three. Giulia Giordano, Maddie Poplawski and Bridget Waclawik each have found the back of the cage four times while Courtney Lubbe has three goals to go with her team-high eight assists. Sophomore Erin Brennan has picked up where she left off in her Ivy League Rookie of the Year season in '09, scoring two goals and four assists. She has scored a point in all 20 of her career games, the 20th longest-active streak in the nation and longest by a sophomore.

Penn is 25-2 at Franklin Field since the 2007 season, with one loss coming in the NCAA Final Four to Northwestern in '07. The other loss came in Penn's last game at home, an 8-6 loss to No. 13 Stanford on May 2, 2009.

The Quakers will look to return to winning ways at home on Wednesday at 3 p.m.