Women's Soccer Kicks Off Ivy Play Saturday with Harvard


PHILADELPHIA – Unbeaten in five-straight matches after a season-opening loss, the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team completes a three-match homestand on Saturday by hosting Harvard in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Quakers and Crimson will kick off at 4 p.m., opening a Rhodes Field doubleheader that ends with the Penn men's soccer team hosting neighborhood rival Drexel at 7 p.m.

Live Video For Saturday - ILDN and ESPN3
Saturday's match will be televised live on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN). This is a pay service, register for the entire season here! With the ILDN, you will be able to watch all of Penn’s home matches, as well as their Ivy League road contests. That adds up to eight of the team’s remaining 10 matches!

Saturday's game also will air for free on ESPN3! Both links are above.

The Series
The Crimson leads the overall series, 17-5-3, but the series is much tighter over the last 15 meetings (Harvard's lead is 7-5-3). That said, the Crimson has won three in a row, the last two via shutout.

Good Rhodes Record
Penn is 14-1-4 in Ivy League home matches dating back to the 2010 season. The lone loss came two years ago to Harvard, a 3-0 defeat.

Around the Ivy League
It's opening weekend for everyone. The action starts Friday, when Columbia hosts Cornell at 7 p.m. On Saturday, in addition to the Penn-Harvard match, defending champion Princeton opens defense of its title at Yale at 4 p.m. On Sunday, Dartmouth hosts Brown at 1 p.m.

About Harvard
The Crimson (5-3-0) have won five of the last eight Ivy titles and enter the weekend on a three-match win streak. Senior Margaret Purce, a three-time first-team All-Ivy pick who was Ivy League Player AND Rookie of the Year in 2013, has a team-high seven goals and 16 points and is ranked in the Top 20 nationally in goals and points per game. Rachel Garcia, Leah Mohammadi and Karly Zlatic have each scored twice. Bailey Gary was a first-team All-Ivy player last year. Lizzie Durack (1.50 GAA) -- a second-team All-Ivy GK last year -- and Danielle Etzel (1.33 GAA) have seen most of the action in goal.

About Penn
*Penn is 4-0-1 over its last five matches and has never trailed in any of them.

*Penn enters Saturday's match with a shutout streak of 245:22, dating back to Delaware on September 11.

*Penn's four-match win streak from September 4-16 was the program's longest since 2013, when the Quakers had a six-game win streak from October 4-22 (not allowing a goal that entire time).

*Nine of Penn's 12 goals this season -- actually, nine of the last 11 overall -- have come in the first half. Of those nine, eight have come in the first 26 minutes of the match.

*Penn has had the last two Ivy League Rookies of the Week, as midfielder Emily Sands won it on September 12 and goalkeeper Kitty Qu earned the honor on Monday.

*Qu, who has played all but 12 minutes in the Penn cage this year, has a 0.49 goals-against average and enters the weekend 24th nationally in that category.

*Sands, meanwhile, is tied for the team lead with six points (2g/2a) along with fellow freshman Emma Loving (who has her points via three goals).

*Five freshmen have already started at least one match this season for Penn -- Loving, Sands, Qu, Abby Reed and Megan Lloyd

*Penn's loss to Maryland was perhaps unjust; after allowing the Terrapins a pair of goals in the first 12 minutes, Penn ended up outshooting its opponent 12-5 in the match (9-1 in the second half).

*Through 22 matches in the Nicole Van Dyke coaching era, Penn has outshot its opponent 18 times.

*Seniors Olivia Blaber and Paige Lombard have two goals each this season.

*Lombard also anchors a defense that allowed just 11 goals in 16 matches last season and posted seven shutouts. A transfer from the University of Miami, Lombard missed the 2014 season to a knee injury but earned All-ECAC, first-team All-Ivy, and third-team NSCAA All-Region a year ago.

*The defense also returns a trio of women who saw significant time last season in senior Tahirih Nesmith (14 appearances last year), sophomore Romie Boyd (16 starts), and sophomore Cami Nwokedi (6 starts, 12 appearances).

*Penn returns seven women who scored a goal last year, including all four who found the back of the net more than once: sophomore Sasha Stephens (4 goals in 2015), Lombard (3), sophomore Allie Trzaska (2) -- an honorable mention All-Ivy pick last year as a freshman -- and junior Lauren Petite (2).

*Blaber, Lombard and Darby Mason are the captains for the 2016 season.

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