Women's Soccer Heads to Windy City

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women’s soccer team started the 2007 season with four home matches, going 3-1-0.

This weekend, the Quakers take their show on the road.

It’s off to the Windy City for the women, who play a pair of matches in the Chicagoland area. The first comes Friday afternoon on the shores of Lake Michigan, as the Quakers face their second Big Ten Conference foe in as many weekends in Northwestern. On Sunday, Penn gets a chance to play in the new home of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, Toyota Park, facing Loyola University of Chicago.

“I think we will have a pair of games like we saw last Friday against Michigan State (a 1-0 loss),” said head coach Darren Ambrose. “We have to learn from that game, learn to play with composure and not chase things when we are not getting the results we want. We cannot get caught up in playing someone else’s system, we need to stay within ourselves and do the things we want to do.”

In Northwestern, Penn faces a team that is also enjoying some success early in the season. The Wildcats are 4-1-0 and have won three straight, including a 3-0 decision over Loyola earlier this week. NU is led by Kelsey Hans, who became the school’s all-time goalscoring leader in the win over Loyola -- she now has 30 for her career.

“Northwestern has had some great results so far this season,” said Ambrose. “They will bring a lot of the same things to the table that Michigan State did, they are athletic and they can play with speed. I expect it to be a passionate, emotional match. It is up to us to impose ourselves in the match.”

Sunday’s opponent has suffered a 1-4-0 record entering the weekend, with the lone win coming against city rival DePaul (2-0). Toyota Park is located in Bridgeview, Ill., west of the city.

“I think it is a credit to our team that we haven’t even really discussed the fact that we are going to get to play in the Fire’s new stadium,” said Ambrose. “They have been focused on Northwestern, and once we get past that we will focus on Loyola. But obviously it’s a phenomenal opportunity, because it’s not something many people get a chance to do -- play on an MLS field.”

Some notes heading into the weekend...

*This will be the first time Penn has met either Northwestern or Loyola in women’s soccer.

*This is the third straight weekend Penn has gone with a Friday/Sunday schedule; the Quakers will do it again next weekend, hosting La Salle Friday afternoon and then playing at Villanova Sunday.

*Penn has outscored its opponents 11-2 on the season, including 5-0 in the first half.

*Penn has outshot its first four opponents 64-25; in corner kicks, the Quakers hold a staggering 39-5 advantage.

*Sophomore Jessica Fuccello continues to lead the Quakers in scoring; she has three goals and an assist for seven points.

*Though only four matches into her sophomore season, Fuccello already has 30 career points; she is four shy of cracking Penn’s all-time Top 10 list.

*With 12 goals in her career, Fuccello needs two more to move into Penn’s top 10.

*Junior Molly Weir and sophomore Mara Fintzi have two goals apiece this season.

*Sophomore Sara Rose got the start in goal for both matches last weekend, and came up with four saves while allowing just one goal. Classmate Cailly Carroll also has two starts and only one goal allowed.