The Quakers have at times put together a superb offensive output, scoring 14 or more goals in four of seven games in 2010 for a total of 59 goals. In their other three contests, the Quakers have scored a total of 19 times. While this news won't exactly be revolutionary, so far in 2010 it appears that when the Red and Blue are firing on all cylinders on offense, teams have a tough time keeping up with them.
In the four games with over 14 goals scored, the lowest margin of victory is seven - in the season-opener at Drexel. However, when the Quakers have fizzled on attack they are 2-1. Those two wins have come by a combined three goals.
In fact, you need to go back to April 20, 2005 to find a regular season game where Penn scored in double digits and did not win the game. That game was a 16-12 loss to Loyola. Since then, Penn has won every game in which it scored at least 10 goals - 52 regular season games and 56 total games counting postseason. The only time Penn has suffered a defeat when scoring 10 or more goals since that game against the Greyhounds in '05 was last year's national semifinal against Northwestern - a 13-12 loss in double overtime.
The Quakers will look to their balanced attack to reach the 10-goal plateau against Johns Hopkins. Four players have already scored 10 or more goals this season and another two have at least eight. Ali DeLuca leads the way with 19 goals and 24 points. Sophomore Erin Brennan has 11 goals and 10 assists while Giulia Giordano and Bridget Waclawik each have 10 goals. Freshman Maddie Poplawski leads all first-year players on Penn with nine goals while Courtney Lubbe has eight.
Penn's biggest growth on offense this year may be the ability to work the two-player game a bit more. To this point, Penn has assists on 43 of 68 non-free position goals, good for 63%. Last year, Penn had 92 assists on 163 non-free position goals. The Quakers are out to prove they are a potent team from anywhere on the field, and with five players averaging almost two points a game, the offense can be difficult to defend.
Notwithstanding DeLuca's ability to create instant offense by herself in transition and off draw controls, perhaps the three most dangerous players in Penn's lineup at the moment are Brennan, Giordano and Lubbe. Combined, the trio has 29 goals and 31 assists. Each one has the ability to control a possession, be it down low behind the cage or circling on the outside. If defenses slack off to guard the pass, any of the three can take a good shot and make opposing teams pay.
While Penn's offense has been up and down throughout the early goings of the season, its trademark defense has risen to the occasion throughout the first seven games. Only once has a team truly solved the defense - No. 4 North Carolina in an 11-6 Tar Heel win in Chapel Hill. Besides that game, Drexel's seven goals in the opener are the most scored on the Quakers. A look at the national stats reveals Penn has the second-best scoring defense in the country, allowing 5.29 goals-per-game. Dartmouth is currently number on at 5.00, but the Big Green have played three less games than the Quakers. Penn's Emily Szelest enters the week with the second-best GAA in the country at 5.46. She also trails Dartmouth, sliding in behind Julie Wadland's 5.29 through four games.
Penn's opponent on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins, enters the week with a 5-3 record after a pair of wins over Florida and George Washington last week. The Blue Jays are scoring 13.5 goals a contest (bolstered by a 21-11 win over the Colonials last Saturday), and they need most of them as they are allowing 9.88 goals-per-game. On March 6, JHU defeated Harvard, 15-10 - the only common opponent for both teams so far. The Blue Jays were defeated by Princeton, 10-9 (OT), in late February.
Sophomore Candace Rossi leads Johns Hopkins with 21 goals. She is one of five players in double digits in scoring, followed by Colleen McCaffrey (16), Paige Ibello (15), Brianna Cronin (11) and Sam Schrum (10). Schrum is a dangerous player, having twice surpassed the 30-goal plateau in a season. Johns Hopkins is a second-half team, outscoring opponents by a 58-36 margin in the final 30 minutes of games this year. In comparison, JHU only has eight more goals than its opponents in the first half of games. Freshman Cosette Larash has started seven games for the Blue Jays in goal, posting a 4-3 record. She has made 55 saves (.433 save%) and has a GAA of 10.14. Sophomore defender Alyssa Kildare helps keep the area in front of Larash clear, with 16 caused turnovers and 22 ground balls so far in 2010.