PHILADELPHIA – After kicking off Ivy League play over the last two weekends, the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team makes a brief foray out of conference play Monday night when the Quakers host Lehigh. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Rhodes Field.
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The Series with Lehigh
The Quakers holds a commanding, 14-1-1 record over the Mountain Hawks including a 13-0-1 mark over the last 14 matches. The tie occurred two years ago here in Philadelphia, a 1-1 draw on Rhodes Field. Last year, Penn went up to Lehigh and came away with a 2-0 victory thanks to second-half goals by Olivia Blaber (on a bicycle kick!) and Anna Estep.
The Mountain Hawks (4-4-3) most recently played on Saturday night at Army, falling to the Black Knights 2-0. Like Penn, Lehigh has struggled to score recently -- it has been more than 400 minutes of match action since its last goal. Sabrina Mertz leads the Hawks with six goals and 14 points this season, while Laura Courtney has three goals. Tori Pantaleo and Amanda Marques have each scored twice. In goal, Ani Nahapetian has a 1.12 goals-against average and a .822 save percentage.
*Penn is coming off a 0-0 draw with Cornell on Friday night in a match that was played in conditions daunting enough to move the match from Rhodes Field (grass) to Penn Park (fieldturf). Heavy rains and high winds made it tough for both teams. Cornell had entered the match as one of just two unbeaten teams left at the NCAA Division I level; the other one is the current No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina.
*Penn has gone to overtime in three of its last four matches, and gone the distance in all three without settling matters.*Penn returned just four players who scored last season to this year’s roster. None of them have scored yet this season, but nine other players have already scored.
*Of the nine players who have scored, it was the first tally at Penn for seven of them. The only two whose goals weren’t their first were senior co-captain Erin Mikolai (Mount St. Mary’s) and classmate Shannon Hennessy (VCU). Of course, in Hennessy’s case it was her second collegiate goal -- the first came her sophomore year, in 2013.
*A caveat to the previous note is senior defender Paige Lombard; the senior co-captain scored in consecutive games, against Mount St. Mary’s and at Clemson. They were her first goals at Penn, but her third and fourth as a collegian -- she also scored twice at the University of Miami.
*Freshman Maddie Dawkins had Penn’s goal in its 1-0 win at USC Upstate on September 13. It was a just result for the Quakers, who outshot the Spartans 18-1 in the match.
*Senior goalkeeper Kalijah Terilli was upended and injured early at Clemson, which has left junior Carrie Crook to pick up the pieces -- which she has, posting shutouts in three of her first five collegiate starts after allowing just two goals (one on a PK) against the ranked Tigers.
*In her first career Ivy League start, Crook made a career-high nine saves against two-time defending champion Harvard; on Friday, she had five stops against Cornell.*Sophomore Farah Otero-Amad had a goal and an assist in Penn’s win over Mount St. Mary’s, her first collegiate points.
*Sophomore Natasha Davenport and freshman Allie Trzaska -- who made her first collegiate start -- had the goals in the Quakers’ 2-1 win against previously unbeaten Temple.
*Penn opened its 2015 season -- and the Nicole Van Dyke coaching era -- with a 3-1 win over Seton Hall on August 30. It marked the fifth-straight year the Quakers have won their opener, and the sixth time in seven years.
*Freshman Sasha Stephens scored twice in her collegiate debut, notching Penn’s second and third goals. That Monday, she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
*Sophomore transfer Lauren Petite also scored in her collegiate debut; she was on TCU’s roster last year but did not see any match action. Petite’s goal came less than four minutes into the contest.
*By calendar date, this year’s season opener was the earliest in program history -- in both 2007 and 2012 the Quakers opened the season on August 31. That 2007 game ended as a 1-0 win over Saint Louis, while the 2012 match was a 2-1 win over James Madison.*The Penn defense should once again be shored up by senior Caroline Dwyer. She was shut down after 11 matches last year due to injury, but as a sophomore she was Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year; first-team All-Ivy; first-team NSCAA All-Region; and third-team NSCAA All-America (just the second player in program history to earn NSCAA All-America recognition, after Katy Cross).
*Dwyer also is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award this year. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, this national award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletes to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.