PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women’s soccer team plays its final home game of the 2008 season Saturday, when the Quakers host Brown at 5 p.m. on Rhodes Field. The match will be the first of two at Rhodes, as the Penn and Brown men kick off afterward at approximately 7:30 p.m.
The Quaker women are still mathematically alive as they try to defend their Ivy League title, but they need help Saturday. For instance, if Harvard defeats Dartmouth in a match that starts at 4:30 p.m., the Crimson will have 15 points in League play which will be insurmountable from the Quakers’ perspective.
Saturday night is also Senior Night for the Penn women, a first in two years for the program. Prior to the match, the Quakers will recognize and honor Natalie Capuano, Maggie Devitt, Ellen Gregory, Eileen Larkin, Tory Tripp, Molly Weir and Nicki White. These seven women have been part of teams that have gone a combined 37-19-10 with 28 shutouts, highlighted of course by last year’s Ivy League title and 13-4-1 season.
The Series With Brown
The Bears lead the series, 8-7-2, thanks to last year’s 1-0 double-overtime win in Providence. Brown’s win last year snapped a six-game unbeaten streak Penn had over the Bears (5-0-1). The last time these teams met here in Philadelphia, the Quakers scored two late goals to escape with a 2-2 tie. Overall, Penn is 4-3-2 in Philly against the Bears, but unbeaten in the last three meetings here at Rhodes Field.
Elsewhere in the League
Saturday of this penultimate weekend of league play is a busy one, as all eight teams are in action starting with Harvard (4-1-0) at Dartmouth (1-4-0) at 4:30 p.m. The Quakers and the Bears kick off a half-hour later. At 7 p.m., Columbia (3-1-1) and Yale (2-2-1) kick off in New Haven, and Princeton (3-1-1) and Cornell (1-4-0) kick off in Ithaca.
Penn has scored 32 goals this season, the fifth-best output in program history. Last year the Quakers scored 35 goals in 18 matches.
At the other end, Penn has shut out six of its last nine opponents and outscored them 21-5 in that span.
Sophomore Sarah Friedman continues to lead Penn in scoring, with four goals and 14 assists. She has figured in 18 of the Quakers’ 32 goals this season.
With Penn still having two regular-season matches left to play, Friedman’s 14 assists are already a program record for assists in a season. The previous mark of 10 was set by Katy Cross in 2001.
Just 15 matches into her sophomore year, Friedman has 19 career assists which places her alone in third on Penn’s all-time list behind Katy Cross (25 from 2001-04) and Kellianne Toland (22 from 1997-2000).
Senior Natalie Capuano scored Penn’s first goal last Wednesday vs. Rider, giving her 14 career goals which is 10th on the program’s all-time list.
Capuano has five goals this season, which matches her career high (also in 2005) and is tied for the team lead with sophomore Kristin Kaiser.
Earlier this week, Capuano was named Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Friedman, freshman Ursula Lopez-Palm and senior Molly Weir have four goals apiece, while freshman Marin McDermotthas three.
In The Ivy League
As a team, Penn entered the week first in assists per game (2.47) and second in goals per game (2.13); the Quakers are fourth in goals-against average (0.95).
Sarah Friedman entered the week first in assists per game (0.93), and is fourth in points per game (1.47).
Molly Weir was seventh in assists per game (0.33).
Natalie Capuano and Kristin Kaiser were tied for 10th in goals per game (0.33).
The Bears (5-6-4, 1-3-1 Ivy League) are coming off losses the last two weekends to Harvard (3-0) and Cornell (2-0). Brown is led by Lindsay Cunningham (5g, 2a) and Marybeth Lesbirel (4g, 2a). Kate Scott has three goals this season. In goal, Brenna Hogue has established herself as one of the top keepers in the league and the country this season; she has a 1.26 goals-against average with 104 saves.