PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania women's soccer team is one of three teams left in the Ivy League championship hunt with two full weekends of conference action left. On Saturday, the Quakers host Brown at 5 p.m. in the first half of a soccer doubleheader at Rhodes Field.
Senior Day: Saturday will represent the last home game for seniors Sarah Banks, Erin Beck, Alex Dayneka and Erin Thayer. These four women have been a part of one of the best eras in the Penn women's soccer program's history. The Quakers have gone 41-18-6 overall during their tenure; only four classes in the program's 22-year history have won more matches, the most recent being the Class of 2003 which was part of 44 wins. With two Ivy League matches still to go, they have already won more Ivy matches than any other class in program history, going 17-6-3 and being a part of the Quakers' 2010 championship squad.
The Series with Brown: The Quakers and Bears are tied in the overall series, 9-9-3, with Penn going 2-0-1 over the last three meetings and 7-2-2 in the last 11. Last year, these teams slogged through a 0-0 draw amid miserable conditions in Providence. Three of the last five matchups have gone to overtime, with Brown winning in 2007 and 2008 (both 1-0) and Penn taking the OT decision in 2010 (3-2).
About Brown: The Bears (7-7-0, 1-4-0 Ivy) fell to Harvard in a non-conference game on Wednesday night, 1-0 in overtime. Mika Siegelman leads Brown with nine points this season (3g, 3a), while Chloe Cross is the top goalscorer with four. Louisa Pitney has six points (2g, 2a). At the other end, Amber Bledsoe and MC Barrett have essentially split time in goal, combining for a 1.08 goals-against average and an .829 save percentage.
Around the Ivy League: Columbia (2-3-0) and Yale (1-4-0) kick off Saturday's action in New Haven, with a 2 p.m. start. Of more importance to Quaker fans, current frontrunner Princeton (5-0-0) kicks off with Cornell (0-4-1) one hour after Penn and Brown get underway. On Sunday, the other team still in the title hunt, Dartmouth (4-1-0), hosts defending champion Harvard (2-2-1) at 1 p.m.
Looking Ahead: We are not supposed to do this, of course, but we can't help it. Obviously there is a chance that, for the second time in three years, all eyes will be on Princeton's Roberts Stadium next Saturday, Nov. 3, as the Quakers and Tigers could be playing with the title and/or an NCAA berth on the line starting at 4 p.m. Dartmouth, meanwhile, will be closing out its season at Cornell, kicking off one hour earlier at 3 p.m.
*The Quakers' 2-0 win at Yale last weekend improved them to 9-1-1 in their last 11 Ivy League matches; in its last 21 Ivy matches going back to 2009, Penn is 15-3-3.
*Penn is 22-7-2 overall since the start of last season, and 26-8-4 over its last 38 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 38 matches, Penn has allowed just 22 goals.
*Penn's first goal at Yale was an own goal. The second came from junior Kathryn Barth, her third tally of the season. She is second on the team with seven points.
*The goals ended a bit of an unusual streak -- junior Kerry Scalora had figured in each of Penn's previous four Ivy League tallies, scoring three of them and assisting the fourth. The 2010 Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year leads Penn with 11 points (4g, 3a).
*Erin Mikolai, a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week, is tied with Barth for second on the team with three goals, while junior Claire Walker, sophomore Kaitlyn Moore and freshman Elissa Berdini have scored twice each.
*Junior Brianna Rano leads the Quakers with four assists, while senior Erin Beck has three and is tied for second in that category with Scalora.
*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 14 games in goal for Penn, combining for 41 saves while allowing 12 goals and posting five shutouts. She has been bolstered by a veteran defense in front of her that includes Dayneka, Thayer and Rano 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.
*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.
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).