PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team is on the road for a pair of matches this weekend, the Quakers’ final tests before they open Ivy League play next weekend against defending champion Harvard. Penn is at VCU on Friday night at 7 p.m., before facing Delaware Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Series With VCU
Friday’s meeting between the Quakers and the Rams will the first between these programs in women’s soccer.
The Rams (3-3-2) are coming off a two-win weekend, defeating Pitt and American. In fact, VCU has won three of its last four games. Maren Johansen leads the Rams with six goals, while Sharon Wojcik has scored twice and Alex Gogolin has a goal and an assist. At the other end, Emma Kruse has played every minute in goal and boasts a 1.78 goals-against average with 32 saves.
The Series with Delaware
The Quakers and the Blue Hens are deadlocked through 12 previous meetings, with six wins apiece. The most recent meeting came in 2011, a 2-0 Penn win in Philadelphia. Prior to that, the teams had not met since 2002.
The Blue Hens (3-4-0) are coming off a split at the Navy Invitational last weekend, losing 1-0 to Ball State but beating Marist 1-0 in double overtime. (Delaware hosts Temple on Friday, before hosting Penn on Sunday.) Nikki Adams has a team-high three goals, while Madison Brosler and Elise Krause have a goal and an assist apiece. In goal, Kailyn Rekos has started four matches (1.73 GAA, 8 saves) while Jess Figueroa has made three starts (0.62 GAA, 10 saves).
*Penn most recently played on Sunday, taking a 3-0 defeat at home against William & Mary.
*Last Thursday, the Quakers tied Saint Francis (Pa.) 1-1 at Rhodes Field. Sophomore Ana Chevtchenko had the Quakers’ goal, her first collegiate tally.
*Two weeks ago, Penn overcame a two-goal deficit against Old Dominion at Rhodes Field, scoring twice in the second half before freshman Kristen Miller netted the winner with just 12 seconds left in the first overtime period.
*Miller’s goal was her first as a collegian, as was the goal scored by the woman who tied the match (freshman Anna Estep).
*Sophomore Lindsey Sawczuk-- who assisted Chevtchenko’s goal last Thursday -- scored Penn’s first goal last Sunday, her second as a collegian. Her first goal? It came last year, also against Old Dominion.
*Penn has gone overtime in two of its last four matches, winning one and tying the other to continue an impressive run: the Quakers have not lost a match in overtime dating back to the 2008 season, going 7-0-11 in extra time during that span.
*Penn opened the season with a 1-0 win at Mount St. Mary’s. On a night where the Quakers outshot the Mount, 18-1, the only goal in the match was an own goal.
*Senior Katherine Myhre and junior Kalijah Terilli both played at least a half in three of the team’s four matches, before Terilli went the distance last Sunday against William & Mary
*Penn went 12-1-4 last season, setting a program record for fewest losses in a season, and took second place in the Ivy League at 5-1-1, behind only Harvard (7-0-0).
*Penn shut out 12 of its 17 opponents last season, a .706 percentage that was fourth nationally; three years ago, the Quakers led the nation in shutout percentage.
*Penn allowed just eight goals last season, good for a 0.44 goals-against average that was fifth nationally.
*Penn is 41-11-9 over its last 61 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 61 matches, Penn has almost as many shutouts (36) as goals allowed (40).
*Penn head coach Darren Ambrose is in his 15th season at the helm; he entered the 2014 season 34th among active NCAA Division I coaches in winning percentage (.650) and 39th all-time at the NCAA Division I level.
*Junior defender Caroline Dwyer was a third-team All-America last year, just the second Penn player to be so honored by the NSCAA (Katy Cross was a second-team All-America in 2001).
*That recognition has not gone unnoticed in the preseason, as Dwyer was one of 13 underclass women named to the MAC Hermann Preseason Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is given to the nation’s top men’s and women’s collegiate players.
*Dwyer also received plenty of preseason recognition from TopDrawerSoccer, including second-team All-America; 21st on its list of the nation’s top 100 players; and second among the Ivy League’s top 20 players.
*Penn returns two other first-team All-Ivy players from last year besides Dwyer; fellow juniors Terilli and Erin Mikolai. They were listed fifth and 20th, respectively, on TopDrawerSoccer’s preseason Ivy Top 20, while sophomore Tahirih Nesmith was listed 14th. (Only Harvard had more players than Penn’s four on the TDS Top 20, with five.)
*Terilli, a goalkeeper, enjoyed a stint in the United States Under-23 camp this summer. She is a junior at Penn, but has sophomore eligibility after missing her entire freshman campaign to injury.
*Chevtchenko, meanwhile, continued her play with the Russian National Team throughout the summer.
*Seniors Haley Cooper, Clara Midgley and Kaitlyn Moore are this year’s captains.