PHILADELPHIA – Following a solid opening weekend, the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team returns to action on Thursday with a home game against Saint Francis (Pa.). The Quakers opened the 2014 season with a 1-0 win at Mount St. Mary’s, then followed that up with a stirring, 3-2 comeback win over Old Dominion in overtime Sunday at Rhodes Field.
PLEASE NOTE A TIME CHANGE FOR THURSDAY'S MATCH! IT WILL NOW START AT 6 p.m., NOT 7 p.m. AS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED!
The Series With Saint Francis (Pa.)
The Quakers and the Red Flash met each other on consecutive years in 2011 and 2012. In the first meeting, played on Rhodes Field, Penn rolled to a 3-0 victory. The next year, the teams tied, 1-1, in Loretto, Pa.
The Red Flash (0-6-0) have struggled out of the gate, scoring just once in their first six matches so far. That goal was scored by Casey Gallaher. At the other end of the field, Romina Kunze has played every minute in goal and has 51 saves with a 2.47 goals-against average.
*Penn overcame a two-goal deficit against Old Dominion on Sunday at Rhodes Field, scoring twice in the second half before freshman Kristen Miller netted the winner with just 12 seconds left in the first overtime period.
*Miller’s goal was her first as a collegian, as was the goal scored by the woman who tied the match (freshman Anna Estep).
*Sophomore Lindsey Sawczuk scored Penn’s first goal on Sunday, her second as a collegian. Her first goal? It came last year, also against Old Dominion.
*Speaking of that, Sunday’s match was eerily similar to Penn’s match with ODU last year, when the Lady Monarchs scored the first two goals before the Quakers rallied to gain a 2-2 draw.
*You had to like Penn’s chances heading into overtime on Sunday, besides the fact that the Red and Blue had scored the last two goals and had momentum. On top of that, there is this: Penn has not lost a match in overtime dating back to the 2008 season, going 7-0-10 in extra time during that span.
*Penn opened the season with a 1-0 win at Mount St. Mary’s. On a night where the Quakers outshot the Mount, 18-1, the only goal in the match was an own goal.
*Senior Katherine Myhre and junior Kalijah Terilli played a half each in both matches last weekend, with Terilli starting Friday at Mount St. Mary’s and Myhre starting against ODU.
*The Ivy League teams may start later than the rest of the country, but that hasn’t stopped Penn in recent years; the Quakers have started off 2-0-0 each of the last four years and five of the last six seasons.
*Penn went 12-1-4 last season, setting a program record for fewest losses in a season, and took second place in the Ivy League at 5-1-1, behind only Harvard (7-0-0).
*Penn shut out 12 of its 17 opponents last season, a .706 percentage that was fourth nationally; three years ago, the Quakers led the nation in shutout percentage.
*Penn allowed just eight goals last season, good for a 0.44 goals-against average that was fifth nationally.
*Penn is 41-10-8 over its last 59 matches dating back to the 2010 season. In those 59 matches, Penn has as many shutouts (36) as goals allowed (36).
*Penn head coach Darren Ambrose is in his 15th season at the helm with a 140-68-32 record; he entered the 2014 season 34th among active NCAA Division I coaches in winning percentage (.650) and 39th all-time at the NCAA Division I level.
*Junior defender Caroline Dwyer was a third-team All-America last year, just the second Penn player to be so honored by the NSCAA (Katy Cross was a second-team All-America in 2001).
*That recognition has not gone unnoticed in the preseason, as Dwyer was one of 13 underclass women named to the MAC Hermann Preseason Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is given to the nation’s top men’s and women’s collegiate players.
*Dwyer also received plenty of preseason recognition from TopDrawerSoccer, including second-team All-America; 21st on its list of the nation’s top 100 players; and second among the Ivy League’s top 20 players.
*Penn returns two other first-team All-Ivy players from last year besides Dwyer; fellow juniors Terilli and Erin Mikolai. They were listed fifth and 20th, respectively, on TopDrawerSoccer’s preseason Ivy Top 20, while sophomore Tahirih Nesmith was listed 14th. (Only Harvard had more players than Penn’s four on the TDS Top 20, with five.)
*Terilli, a goalkeeper, enjoyed a stint in the United States Under-23 camp this summer. She is a junior at Penn, but has sophomore eligibility after missing her entire freshman campaign to injury.
*Sophomore midfielder Ana Chevtchenko, meanwhile, continued her play with the Russian National Team throughout the summer.
*Nesmith is the team’s leading returning scorer; she had four goals and an assist for nine points.
*Seniors Haley Cooper, Clara Midgley and Kaitlyn Moore are this year’s captains.