The first match is certainly the headliner, as the Quakers play Villanova Friday night at PPL Park, the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union. That game will kick off at 7 p.m., with a $5 admission for all fans.
(Penn Athletics is providing a student fan busto Friday's match. The bus will leave from the corner of Spruce and 33rd (next to Franklin Field) at 5 p.m. to head to PPL Park, and will return immediately following the game with a dropoff at Franklin Field. The cost is $10, which will include a ticket to the game (cash only). To sign up, please email Penn Athletics' Marketing and New Media Manager, Lindy Sparby, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
On Sunday, Penn returns to Rhodes Field and a meeting with another city rival, Saint Joseph's. That match is free admission, and will kick off at 1 p.m.
Penn vs. Villanova: The Quakers finally broke through in this series last year, gaining a resounding 3-0 win over the Wildcats at Rhodes Field. It was Penn's first win in 13 matches in the series; prior to that, Villanova had won 11 and the teams had tied once. This will be the first time they have played at PPL Park.
About Villanova: The Wildcats (4-0-2) have gotten off to a great start, with Georgia and VCU among its early victims. (Another victim is Penn's other opponent this weekend, Saint Joseph's.) Katie Ryan leads a potent Villanova offense, with a staggering six goals and 14 points through six matches -- in fact, she has scored once in every game so far this season. Stephanie Myers has three goals and eight points, while five other different players have scored goals. Overall, 'Nova has 14 goals, a 2.3 average. At the other end, Jami Kranich has a 1.52 goals-against average.
Penn vs. Saint Joseph's: Penn leads the series with SJU, 4-0-1. This will be the fifth straight year the teams have played each other. However, the last two meetings have been tight affairs. Two years ago, the Quakers and Hawks tied on SJU's campus, 0-0. Last year, Penn hosted and gained a 1-0 victory.
About Saint Joseph's: The Hawks (1-2-1), in contrast to Villanova, have scored just three times in four games. SJU -- which plays Drexel on Friday, before making the trip to Rhodes Field -- already shares one common opponent with Penn this season, tying Delaware 1-1 two days before Penn defeated the Blue Hens, 2-0. Jen Pfeifer had the winner in SJU's most recent match, a 1-0 overtime win against Mount St. Mary's last Sunday. Mo Hawkins and Maggie Lupinski have the other goals. At the other end, Christine Neal has a 1.16 goals-against average and an .815 save percentage.
*Penn opened the 2011 season with back-to-back shutout wins, 3-0 over UMBC and 2-0 against Delaware. The last time the Quakers opened a season with back-to-back shutout wins was 1998. (The 2006 team also shut out its first two opponents, but one of those matches ended in a 0-0 draw.)
*Penn is 2-0-0 for the third time in the last five seasons (also 2007 and 2009). However, the last time the Quakers started 3-0-0 was 2001, and the last time they started 4-0-0 was 1998. (Penn was 2-0-1 after three matches in 2006, and been 3-0-1 or 2-0-2 after four matches twice in the last 10 years.)
*Penn has also won five games in a row at Rhodes Field, dating back to last season.
*Friday's game at PPL Park will be the Penn women's soccer program's second in an MLS stadium. In 2007, the Quakers defeated Loyola of Chicago, 5-1, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., the home of the Chicago Fire.
*Senior forward Marin McDermott, whotied for the team's goal-scoring lead last year with five, already has two goals and an assist this season. She was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday, the second time in her career she has won that award.
*McDermott now has 16 career goals, which puts her alone in 10th place on Penn's all-time goal-scoring list. She needs two more to move into a tie for eighth place with Kelly Stevens (1995-98) and Rachelle Snyder (2001-04).
*Three different players scored Penn's other three goals last weekend: Erin Beck (who had a goal and an assist vs. UMBC), Kathryn Barth, and Ursula Lopez-Palm.
*For the weekend, Penn outshot UMBC and Delaware by a 27-7 count, and took a staggering 19 corner kicks to a combined one by the Retrievers and Blue Hens.
*On defense, a new middle featured senior captain Adrienne Lerner and junior Erin Thayer. Senior Colleen Barry returned to her usual spot on the right side, while junior Alex Dayneka was on the left side.
*In goal, junior Sarah Banks -- who began her college career at Villanova -- started both matches and played the first half before giving way to senior captain Caroline Williams at the break. Banks has three saves so far, while Williams has yet to be tested by an on-goal effort.
*Penn has won two of the last four Ivy League titles; last year, the Quakers went 4-1-2 in Ivy play and narrowly edged Princeton for the championship.
*Overall, Penn went 9-7-2 last year including its NCAA Championship first-round loss to Penn State. The Quakers have never had a losing record under 12th-year head coach Darren Ambrose.
*The Quakers return seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall from last year's team, which won the Ivy League title for the second time in four years and third time in program history.
*Sophomore Kerry Scalora -- who has two assists already this season -- was the Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year last season, as well as a second-team All-Ivy honoree. She tied with McDermott and Lopez-Palm for the goal-scoring lead last year, with five.
*McDermott received honorable mention All-Ivy last year, the third time in three years she has garnered All-Ivy recognition.
*At the other end, Williams -- one of this year's captains, along with Lerner and Beck -- was honorable mention All-Ivy in 2010 after collecting seven shutouts and a 0.88 goals-against average.
*Penn has holes to fill. Kaitlin Campbell and Sarah Friedman, both first-team All-Ivy recipients last year, have graduated. (Friedman graduated as the program's all-time leader in assists.) So has Marisa Schoen, a four-year starter on defense.