PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team is one of just two unbeatens left in Ivy League play after three weekends of play. As the Ancient Eight passes the midway point this weekend, the Quakers are at Dartmouth for a 7 p.m. match on Saturday night. The Big Green are a game behind Penn and Princeton in the standings, tied with Columbia for third place.
The Series with Dartmouth: The Quakers and the Big Green will be meeting for the 23rd time, with Dartmouth holding a 13-7-2 advantage in the series. However, Penn is 2-0-1 in the last three meetings, and 3-1-1 in the last five. Last year, the Quakers gained a 2-0 win in Philadelphia. The last meeting in Hanover, two years ago, resulted in a 0-0 draw. Penn's last win in Hanover came way back in 2002, a 2-1 win.
About Dartmouth: The Big Green (8-4-0, 2-1-0) played Brown in a rare non-conference meeting on Tuesday, defeating the Bears 2-1 behind goals from Chrissy Lozier and Marina Moschitto. Their Ivy wins have come over Brown and Yale, with the loss to Princeton. Emma Brush leads Dartmouth in scoring, with seven goals and three assists, while Lozier has scored six times; both of them were second-team All-Ivy picks a year ago. In goal, Tatiana Saunders has played all but six minutes; she has a 0.83 goals-against average and a .815 save percentage.
Around the Ivy League: Saturday is a busy day around the league, with all eight teams in action. It could also be a time for the title race to space out a bit or get that much tighter -- at the same time that Penn and Dartmouth kick off, so will the other teams in the top half of the table, Princeton (3-0-0) and Columbia (2-1-0), in New York City. Yale (0-3-0) and Cornell (0-2-1) will look to gain their first Ivy win at 4 p.m. in Ithaca, while Harvard (1-1-1) and Brown (0-3-0) also face off at 4 in Providence.
*With its win over Columbia last Friday, Penn has gone 8-0-1 over its last nine Ivy League matches, the best conference run in program history. The win also allowed the Quakers to complete a full cycle of home wins over the Ivy League since 2010.
*Penn is 21-6-2 overall since the start of last season, and 25-7-4 over its last 36 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 36 matches, Penn has allowed just 20 goals.
*Junior Kerry Scalora had the goal in Penn's 1-0 win over Columbia on Friday night; she has figured in Penn's last three Ivy League tallies, scoring two of them and assisting the third. She leads Penn with nine points (3g, 3a).
*Senior Erin Beck had the assist on Scalora's goal, her third dish of the season which ties her for second on the team in that category.
*Freshman Elissa Berdini had Penn's goal in its 1-1 tie at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday, her second tally of the season. She also has two assists and is tied for second on the team with six points with classmate Erin Mikolai (3g) and junior defender Brianna Rano (1g, 4a).
*Mikolai has been named Ivy League Rookie of the Week two times this season; not surprisingly, the freshman midfielder has found her way into the starting lineup in recent matches.
*Amazingly, it wasn't until two weeks ago that a Penn player scored her second goal of the season. (The Quakers had eight different players score their first eight goals.) In addition to Scalora, Berdini and Mikolai, the multi-goal scorers in 2012 also include juniors Kathryn Barth and Claire Walker and sophomore Kaitlyn Moore.
*Moore certainly had Penn's most dramatic goal this season -- her tally against Harvard on Sept. 21 came with just 3.9 seconds left in regulation.
*Senior Sarah Banks has started all 12 games in goal for Penn, combining for 38 saves while allowing 10 goals. She has been bolstered by a veteran defense in front of her that includes Rano and seniors Erin Thayer and Alex Dayneka along with freshmen Jazmyne Simmons and Caroline Dwyer.
*Sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Myhre saw her first game action of 2012, replacing Banks after the senior was injured on the play where Boise State scored in the Broncos' 1-0 win on Sept. 23 at Rhodes Field. In 36 minutes of action, she was not called upon to make a save.
*Seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall return this year from last year's historic squad, which went 14-2-1 overall including a 5-1-1 mark in the Ivy League (good for second place behind Harvard). Penn is 12-2-3 in its last 17 Ivy League matches going back to 2009.
*Penn's overtime win at Sacramento State on Sept. 16 was its first in extra time since Oct. 30, 2010 -- coincidentally, also a 3-2 decision, this time over Brown. All-time, Penn is 9-9-35 in overtime matches.
*Mikolai scored the winner over the Hornets, her first collegiate goal. As a result, she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week, the first Ivy honor this year for a Penn women's soccer player.
*Freshman Elissa Berdini scored Penn's first goal against Sac State and assisted Mikolai's winner; they were her first collegiate points.
*Penn's captains for 2012 are Beck -- a second-year captain -- along with Dayneka and Walker.
*Penn returns three All-Ivy players from a year ago, two first-teamers in Beck and senior goalkeeper Banks. Barth was a second-team selection in 2011.
*In addition, Penn figures to be bolstered by the return of Scalora. The 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year and second-team All-Ivy was injured in the Quakers' sixth game a year ago and missed the remainder of the season.
*Penn returns three of its top four scorers from a year ago in Barth (8g, 8a), sophomore Megan York (5g, 1a) and sophomore Callan Parra (4g, 2a). Yet another sophomore, Clara Midgley, scored four goals.
*Banks started 16 of Penn's 17 matches last year, allowing just five goals for a 0.42 goals-against average that was among the national leaders.
Last year's team put up some staggering numbers including...
*The best record in program history by percentage (14-2-1, .853).
*The 14 wins tied for most in program history (also 1997) and the two losses tied for fewest in program history (also 2001).
*An eight-match win streak, longest in program history (previous record six).
*The team allowed just seven goals all season, a program record (previous mark 13), and scored 39 goals which was tied for second-most in program history (also 2001).
*Penn posted 13 shutouts in 17 matches, setting a program record and leading the nation at the NCAA Division I level in shutout percentage (.765).
*Penn finished last year third nationally in goals-against average (0.41), sixth in win percentage (.853), and seventh in save percentage (.887).