PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer program has announced its 2008 schedule. The defending Ivy champion Quakers will play eight home games and 17 overall, including 10 non-conference matches.
“This year’s schedule is another good test for an experienced squad,” said Darren Ambrose, who enters his ninth season as the Quakers’ head coach. “In particular, we have a pair of tough road games against Big East squads -- Pitt is an improving team, and Georgetown was in the league’s top four last year and went to the NCAAs. Playing them on the road will provide us a great opportunity to see where we are before heading in to the Ivy games.”
Penn opens the season with a trip across the state, taking on the Panthers in its 2008 debut on Friday, Sept. 5. Two days later, the Quakers meet Robert Morris for the third season in a row.
A week later, the women host the Penn Invitational at Rhodes Field, entertaining city rival Villanova as well as Hofstra and East Carolina. The Quakers will play Villanova -- yet another Big East Conference member -- in Friday night’s second match, then East Carolina Sunday afternoon.
The next weekend provides another two-match weekend on the road, as Penn plays at Richmond Friday night and Georgetown two days later. Following that, Penn will be in action four more times outside of the Ivy League with home games against UMBC (Sept. 24), Saint Joseph’s (Oct. 1) and Rider (Oct. 22), and a Sunday trip across the city to meet La Salle (Oct. 12).
“Our schedule this year is regionally based, so we can solidify our position in our region,” said Ambrose. “In addition to Georgetown and Villanova, who finished ahead of us in the region last year, we also play Richmond and Pitt on the road outside of Ivy play. Those matches will really test our mettle early this fall.”
The Quakers will open defense of their Ivy League championship on Sept. 27, when Harvard comes to town -- last year, Penn clinched the title outright with a 1-0 victory on the Crimson’s home field. The Penn women will also host Columbia (Oct. 10) and Brown (Nov. 1) in conference play this season, while traveling to Cornell (Oct. 4), Dartmouth (Oct. 18), Yale (Oct. 25) and Princeton (Nov. 8). To give you a sense of how daunting Penn’s Ivy road slate is, consider that last year Yale finished second behind the Quakers, at 5-2-0, while Princeton was third at 4-3-0 and Dartmouth tied for fourth (3-3-1).
“The Ivies are always challenging, and we know that coming into the year,” said Ambrose. “We need to be fully prepared when September 27 rolls around.”
Penn returns all 19 letterwinners from last year’s squad, which went 13-4-1 overall to finish just one win shy of the school record. The Quakers also won their first outright Ivy title with a 6-1-0 mark, and advanced to the NCAA College Cup first round for the third time in program history.
2008 PENN WOMEN’S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Day, Date ... Opponent, Time
Friday, Sept. 5 ... at Pitt, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 7 ... at Robert Morris, 1 p.m.
PENN INVITATIONAL (at Rhodes Field)
Friday, Sept. 12
Hofstra vs. East Carolina, 5 p.m.
Penn vs. Villanova, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 14
Penn vs. East Carolina, 1 p.m.
Villanova vs. Hofstra, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 ... at Richmond, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 21 ... at Georgetown, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 24 ... UMBC, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 ... HARVARD*, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 1 ... SAINT JOSEPH’S, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4 ... at Cornell*, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 ... COLUMBIA*, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 12 ... at La Salle, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18 ... at Dartmouth*, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 22 ... RIDER, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 25 ... at Yale*, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 1 ... BROWN*, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 8 ... at Princeton*,4 p.m.
*Ivy League match
Home matches in ALL CAPS played at Rhodes Field