The Quakers and Terps both advanced to the national semifinals in 2009 before bowing out in the Final Four. So far in 2010, the two powerhouse programs are priming themselves for a similar run through the national championship tournament.
The Quakers enter the weekend with an 8-1 record and a 3-0 mark in the Ivy League. Maryland is a perfect 11-0 in 2010 and 3-0 in the ACC. Penn's only loss came at the hands of No. 3 North Carolina in the Red and Blue's third game of the season. Maryland has plowed through a difficult schedule, defeating five teams ranked in the top ten.
With a 12-10 win over No. 7 Towson on Wednesday, Maryland extended its regular-season winning streak to 32 games dating back to the 2008 season. Over that span, the Terps have won on the road 14 times.
While the Terps have had little trouble winning on the road over recent memory, Penn has held serve at Franklin Field during its run to the higher echelons of women's lacrosse. Since 2006, Penn is 34-4 at Franklin Field, including a 26-game regular-season winning streak from 3/29/06-5/2/09. The only loss over that time frame was in the national semifinals to Northwestern in 2007.
As is expected with two teams ranking near the top of the polls, both sides enter the weekend with some of the country's biggest scoring margins. Maryland have the fourth-highest scoring margin, outscoring opponents by an average of 8.6 goals-per-game. The Quakers follow in ninth place, outscoring foes by an average of 6.0 gpg.
While Penn's scoring margin does not equal Maryland's, the Red and Blue make the number stand up thanks to shutdown defense and goaltending. Penn entered the week with the nation's best scoring defense, limiting opposing teams to an average of 5.56 gpg. Senior goalkeeper Emily Szelest boasts the nation's best goals-against average at 5.72. She is the only keeper in the country under 6.00.
The Terps are no slouches on defense either, with goalkeeper Brittany Dipper ranking fourth in GAA at 7.66. As a team, Maryland's scoring defense is third in the country, allowing 7.00 goals-per-game entering the week.
Friday's national showdown is not the only game on the docket for Penn this weekend. The Quakers will bounce back quickly on Sunday to take on Ivy League rival Columbia at 1 p.m. on Franklin Field.
The Quakers are 13-0-0 all-time against the Lions, including a 16-11 win last year in New York City. The Red and Blue jumped out to an 11-0 lead and entered halftime ahead by a 13-3 margin before the Lions roared back into the game with eight goals in the second half. Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro each had four goals in the win for the Quakers. Brittany Shannon had three scores for Columbia.
Shannon leads the Lions (4-3, 0-3 Ivy) this year with 22 goals and five assists. Gabrielle Geronimos follows with 17 goals. Amanda Goodhart paces the defense with 12 caused turnovers and 13 ground balls.Karlee Blank has played every minute in goal for Columbia, and enters the game with an 11.62 GAA and a .449 save%.
No. 6 Penn vs. No. 2 Maryland Notes
- This is the 16th all-time matchup between Penn and Maryland. The Terrapins hold a 13-2 advantage in the series.
- Maryland has the advantage all-time between the two schools, but the bulk of those meetings came before many of today's players even picked up a stick. Of the 15 total games between Penn and Maryland, 14 came between 1980 and 1993. The Terps dominated that span with a 13-1 record.
- In the only game held in the 2000s, Penn downed Maryland, 9-7, in the NCAA quarterfinals at Franklin Field en route to the program's first Final Four. The Quakers rallied from a 5-3 halftime deficit to advance to the national semifinals. Only two players currently wearing a Penn uniform played in that game - Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro. Two Terps return to Franklin Field tonight from that game - Caitlyn McFadden and Karissa Taylor.
- The Quakers are mighty comfortable when playing at home since 2006. Over the past four-plus seasons, Penn is 34-4 in games played at Franklin Field. One of those losses came in the 2007 national semifinals. In fact, Penn went a span of 26 regular-season games at Frankin Field without losing (3/29/06-5/2/09).
- While Penn's overall record against school's which call the ACC home stands at 7-17, much of that mark comes from games against Maryland. Besides the Terps, Penn is 5-4 against ACC schools BC, Duke and North Carolina.
Milestone Watch ...
- Senior Ali DeLuca has an eye towards history tonight. Her 33 points already this season has moved her into second place all-time on Penn's career points list (170). While she is 67 points away from taking over the top of that list, the career goal-scoring crown is well within reach.
- DeLuca enters play this evening with 126 career goals, second all-time by a Quaker. She trails Sherry Marcantonio (1980-83) by three goals for tops among any player ever to wear a Quaker uniform.
- Sophomore Erin Brennan is already climbing Penn's all-time assist ladder. She has 31 helpers for her career, tied for ninth by a Quaker. One more dime tonight moves her up into a tie for eighth.
- A pair of Penn players are on the cusp of cracking the top ten all-time in assists by a Quaker. Senior Courtney Lubbe and junior Giulia Giordano each need one assist to record the 30th of their careers and climb into the top ten.
Super Sophomores Set to Meet
- Both Penn and Maryland boast second-year players who have begun their collegiate careers in fine fashion. For the Quakers it is Erin Brennan and the Terps bring with them Karri Ellen Johnson.
- Both players were the recipients of their conference's Rookie of the Year honors in 2009. Both were also all-conference honorees, Brennan a second-team All-Ivy selection and Johnson a first-team All-ACC selection.
- Brennan has scored at least one point in every one of her 26 games as a collegian - the 20th-best such streak currently active in the NCAA and the second-best of any sophomore.
- Brennan has 58 points over her 26 games, including a team-high 31 assists during that span.
- Johnson possesses the current longest scoring streak by a sophomore at 32 games. She has at least one goal in all of those games - and 105 scores total over that span.
- Johnson's 105 goals so far in her career actually have her tied for 24th among active players, a list littered with seniors and juniors.
Statistically Speaking ...
- As is expected when two top-six teams are in action, there are many chances to find Penn and Maryland in the upper regions of the Division 1 team and individual statistical rankings.
- In keeping with recent tradition, Penn enters the weekend with the highest-ranked team defense in the nation. The Quakers are allowing 5.56 goals-per-game, one of just two clubs in the country in sub-six goals territory. The other school allowing less than a half-dozen goals a game is Dartmouth, but the Big Green have played three less games than Penn to this point. The Terps slide in to the third spot, allowing 6.70 goals-per-game.
- Penn goalkeeper Emily Szelest finds herself in a familiar perch so far in 2010 - atop the nation's GAA rankings.
- Szelest, the 2009 GAA champion in Division I, is standing tall between the pipes again with a 5.72 GAA in 2010. She is the only keepers under six goals-per-game in the nation entering this week of play. Maryland's Brittany Dipper is fourth, coming in at 7.08.
- Maryland entered the week sixth in scoring offense (15.3 gpg) to go with its third-ranked scoring defense. Naturally, the Terps follow as the fourth-best team in the country in terms of scoring margin at 8.6. The Quakers are ninth at 6.0.