PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team is off to another hot start this year, going 4-1-0 with the only blemish a one-goal loss on the road against a team ranked 11th in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll. The Quakers hope to keep the positive momentum going this weekend, as they host VCU on Friday night before traveling to Towson for a Sunday matinee.
Ivy League Digital Network
If you can’t make it to Rhodes Field on Friday night, fear not! All home games, and most Ivy League road matches, can be watched LIVE on the Ivy League Digital Network (ILDN)! This subscription-based service has packages for the year, the season, and even single games. There are also special packages for each of the eight Ivy institutions. Click here for more information!
The Series with VCU
The Quakers and the Rams opened up their series a year ago in Richmond, Va., and finished in a 0-0 draw.
The Rams (1-6-0) opened the season with a 4-2 win over Old Dominion, but are winless since then and have not scored during this stretch. Four of the six losses have been 1-0 decisions, with two of those going overtime. Kelly Graves had a goal and an assist in that opening win, while Megan Dell, Maddi Santo and Sharon Wojcik also scored. In goal, Emma Kruse has played every minute and boasts a 1.56 goals-against average and a .796 save percentage.
The Series with Towson
The Quakers and the Tigers have played twice before -- once in 1992, and most recently in 2010. Penn won that 1992 meeting in Maryland, 3-1, while Towson leveled the series at Rhodes Field in 2010, 1-0.
The Tigers (5-2-1) are a reversal of VCU; after losing two straight to start the season, they have won five in a row (all shutouts) and are unbeaten in six. Last weekend, Towson beat Mount St. Mary’s 4-0 and Loyola (Md.) 1-0. Seven different women have scored for the Tigers this season, led by Natalia Pinkney (3) and Katie Fullerton (2). In goal, Taylor Sebolao has started all eight matches; she has a 0.50 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
*Using the common soccer formula of three points for a win, one for a tie and zero for a loss, Penn has 12 points from its five matches so far this season. The only other times the Quakers had 12 or more points at this juncture were 1998 and 2011 (5-0-0 for a full 15 points); 2001, 2006 and 2013 (4-0-1, 13 points); and 1997 (4-1-0, 12 points).
*Those fast starts were harbingers of solid seasons. The 1998 team finished 11-5-1; the 2001 squad went 13-2-3; the 2011 team went 14-2-1; and the 2013 club went 12-1-4. The 2001 team tied for program’s first Ivy League title, while the 2011 and 2013 teams finished second in the Ancient Eight standings.
*Penn returned just four players who scored last season. None of them have scored yet this season, but eight OTHER players HAVE already scored.
*Of the eight players who have scored, it was the first tally at Penn for seven of them. The only one whose goal wasn’t her first was senior Erin Mikolai, who scored last Sunday against Mount St. Mary’s.
*The caveat here is senior defender Paige Lombard; she scored in consecutive games, against Mount St. Mary’s and last Friday 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 last Sunday’s 1-0 win at USC Upstate. 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 in Friday’s match at Clemson, which left Carrie Crook to pick up the pieces -- which she did, posting the shutout in her first collegiate start Sunday after allowing just two goals (one on a PK) against the ranked Tigers.
*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 last Sunday. On 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.
*Penn’s forte in recent years has been its defense, and that figures to remain intact this season. That defense starts at the very back, where Kalijah Terilli has been the mainstay in goal for the last two years. She has been a third-team NSCAA All-Region pick each of the last two years, and was first-team All-Ivy in 2013.
*Terilli -- who shared last Sunday’s shutout with junior Carrie Crook -- owns 12 career solo shutouts, which is one shy of the program record held by Vanessa Scotto. Terilli’s career goals-against average is 0.78, second behind Sarah Banks (0.75 from 2010-12).
*The 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).