PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s first-year head coach for women’s soccer, Nicole Van Dyke, has announced the program’s 2015 schedule. The Quakers are slated to play 16 matches, with 10 of them coming at home on Rhodes Field.
“After spending the spring in transition, we are eager to hit the ground running and compete against some great competition,” said Van Dyke. “As a whole, we are excited about the 2015 schedule and relish the opportunity to compete for an Ivy League championship in an incredible conference.”
Penn went 8-5-3 last year, tying for third in Ivy League play at 3-3-1 (10 points). Penn returns 19 team members from last year, including seven starters and a trio of first-team All-Ivy players in seniors Caroline Dwyer, Erin Mikolai and Kalijah Terilli. Mikolai and Terilli also were NSCAA All-Region selections a year ago, while Dwyer was a third-team NSCAA All-America in 2013 who missed much of the 2014 season to injury.
Some notes about each team on the schedule…
SETON HALL (Sunday, Aug. 30/1 p.m.) – First of three straight home matches to start the season; first meeting between the Quakers and the Pirates since 2003; Penn leads the overall series, 3-0, but all three matches were one-goal games; Penn 6-11-3 all-time against BIG EAST schools, (2-11-1 vs. Villanova, 4-0-2 all others).
TEMPLE (Friday, Sept. 4/ 5 p.m.) – Twelfth meeting between the Quakers and Owls, but first since 2012; Penn leads the overall series, 6-5; only Penn’s only intra-city match this season.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S (Sunday, Sept. 6/1 p.m.) – Third straight season these teams have met, with Penn winning the first two 4-0 (2013) and 1-0 (2014); first meeting on Rhodes Field, as the 2013 home match was played on Penn Park; last year’s win came via an own goal, although Penn outshot MSM 18-1.
At Clemson (Friday, Sept. 11/7 p.m.) – First-ever meeting between Quakers and Tigers, also Penn’s first trip to South Carolina for women’s soccer; Clemson played in 2014 NCAA Championship, losing in first round in PKs; Penn 2-4-0 all-time against ACC programs, but most recent result a 2-1 OT win against Pitt in 2009.
At USC Upstate (Sunday, Sept. 13/noon) – First-ever meeting between the Quakers and the Spartans; USC Upstate is located in Spartanburg, S.C., and plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
VCU (Friday, Sept. 18/7 p.m.) – VCU’s first trip to Penn for women’s soccer; first meeting between these programs took place last year in Richmond, a 0-0 tie.
At Towson (Sunday, Sept. 20/1 p.m.) – Third meeting between the Quakers and the Tigers, the most recent coming in 2010 (a 1-0 Towson win in Philly).
At Harvard* (Saturday, Sept. 26/4 p.m.) – Ivy League opener comes on the road against the two-time defending champs; Crimson lead the series, 16-5-3, but series is 4-4-0 over last eight years; six of the last eight years, the team that won this Ivy-opening match has gone on to win the Ivy title; Penn’s last win in Cambridge came in 2007; Harvard went to NCAA Championship last year, advancing to second round.
CORNELL* (Friday, Oct. 2/7 p.m.) – Penn looking to avenge last year’s 3-2 loss in Ithaca, which snapped a 17-match unbeaten streak over the Big Red (16-0-1).
LEHIGH (Monday, Oct. 5/7 p.m.) – Third straight meeting, and fifth in six years, between these non-conference regional foes; Penn leads series 14-1-1 and is unbeaten in last 14 meetings; late goals by Blaber, Estep propelled the 2-0 win last year in Bethlehem, Pa.
At Columbia* (Friday, Oct. 9/6 p.m.) – Penn looking for its fifth-straight win over the Lions, third-straight in New York; Provini scored lone goal in last year’s 1-0 win on Rhodes Field; Quakers have not allowed a goal to Columbia in last four matchups.
AMERICAN (Tuesday, Oct. 13/7:30 p.m.) – Penn plays four of its last five matches at home, starting with this one; seventh meeting between the Quakers and Eagles, but the first since 2000; Penn leads series 4-2.
DARTMOUTH* (Saturday, Oct. 17/5 p.m.) – Big Green lead the series 15-8-2, but Penn leads 4-3-1 over last eight years including 4-0-0 at home during that time; Dartmouth finished second in Ivies last year, at 3-1-3.
YALE* (Saturday, Oct. 24/5 p.m.) – Yale leads overall series 12-7-5, but Penn is unbeaten in last five against Bulldogs (3-0-2) and 4-1-5 over last 10 meetings; another one-loss team in Ivy play last year, Yale went 2-1-4 (10 points) and tied for third with Penn and Princeton.
At Brown* (Saturday, Oct. 31/3:30 p.m.) – Penn has won five of last six meetings with the Bears, tying the sixth; Quakers have not allowed a goal to Brown over last four matchups; Penn is 5-1-1 in its last seven trips to Providence, with the loss coming in OT in 2007.
PRINCETON* (Saturday, Nov. 7/5 p.m.) – Tigers lead all-time series 12-10-2, but Penn is 4-1-1 in last six meetings; Penn won in Princeton last year for the first time since 1998; Penn has won four in a row at home over the Tigers; typically a high-scoring affair, the LOSING team has scored twice in each of the last three meetings; like Penn, Princeton will be playing for a new coach this year, as Sean Driscoll takes over after Julie Shackford’s 20-year tenure.