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PHILADELPHIA - Back on familiar ground with a win inside the Ivy League last weekend, Penn looks to add a second Ancient Eight victory on Saturday as the Quakers host Yale (noon) as part of Lacrosse Alumni Weekend.
Following the annual Alumnae Game at 9:30 a.m., the Red and Blue will look to improve to 2-0 inside the Ivy League against a Bulldogs club that Penn has defeated the last eight times the two programs have met.
When Penn and Yale meet in women's lacrosse, the games are usually low-scoring affairs. Penn is averaging nine goals over the last eight games against Yale, while the Bulldogs check in at a paltry 4.6, including two games where Yale managed just a pair of goals.
If the Quakers are to continue the trend of shutting down the Yale offense, they will need to contend with a group averaging 12.6 goals-per-game as the Bulldogs have jumped out to a 4-2 start to the season. Devon Rhodes has scored 19 goals and has totaled 26 points - both team and Ivy League highs. Rhodes is one of three players with double-digit goal totals, joined by Kerri Fleishacker (12) and Jen DeVito (11).
The Quakers have been staunch on defense, and are primed to limit the Bulldogs on attack. As a team, Penn is ranked 18th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 8.25 goals-per-game. That number is the lowest among Ivy League teams and is buoyed by goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson who finds herself near the top of the nation in both GAA (17th at 8.19) and save percentage (12th at .484) while leading the Ancient Eight in both. Shannon Mangini and Maddie Poplawski have helped the cause on defense with four caused turnovers apiece, while Poplawski leads all Penn field players with six ground balls.
After failing to reach double figures in goals over their first three games, the Quakers exploded for 14 scores on Saturday in a win at Harvard. Iris Williamson had four goals in the win over the Crimson, part of a six-goal week for the freshman. She leads the Quakers with nine goals this season. Lindsey Smith returned to form over the weekend, scoring twice to give her four goals this season.
The Bulldogs have won three in a row after dropping their first Ivy League game of the season to Dartmouth, 10-6. Yale has scored 38 goals over the three wins. Erin McMullan has played every minute in goal for the Bulldogs, making 41 saves (.380 save percentage) and posting a goals-against average of 11.17 over her six starts. Nicole Daniggelis (16) and Christina Doherty (14) lead the Bulldogs in draw controls, and Doherty also paces the team in ground balls with 14.
Penn is one of four teams without a loss early in the Ivy League season, even with Dartmouth and Princeton at 1-0 while Cornell has burst to 2-0. The Red and Blue are playing in the only Ivy League game this weekend, giving Penn a chance to secure its position in the top half of the League table early in 2013.
The game is part of a weekend-long celebration of the history and tradition of Penn Women's Lacrosse and the entire Penn Lacrosse program. Starting with alumni gatherings on Friday, the men's and women's programs will both hold their annual Alumni Games on Saturday. The women's Alumnae Game will take place at 9:30 a.m. at Franklin Field, while the men's Alumni Game will start at 11 a.m. at Ace Adams Field at Penn Park. During both the men's and women's games, there will be an alumni tent located inside Franklin Field right on top of the action as both the men and women look to take down Ivy League rivals with the men taking on Princeton following the conclusion of the women's game.