PHILADELPHIA - Riding a two-match shutout streak, the Penn women’s soccer team hosts Saint Joseph’s in another midweek tilt on Rhodes Field. This 7:30 p.m. kickoff marks the Quakers’ third straight match at home, and will be the second half of a doubleheader as the Penn men open at 5 p.m. with Villanova.
Penn got off on the right foot in Ivy League play Saturday night, scoring in each half to gain a 2-0 win over Harvard. Following Wednesday’s match, the Quakers are back into conference play when they travel to Cornell this weekend.
The Series With SJU
Wednesday’s match represents just the third meeting between these city schools, and the first two matchups have been all Penn. The first win came 5-1 during the 2000 season, and then last year the Quakers rolled to a 6-0 decision. Molly Weir and Mara Fintzi scored two times each in last year’s victory.
Penn got goals in both halves Saturday night and knocked off Harvard, 2-0, to begin defense of its Ivy League title. Kristin Kaiser assisted Marin McDermott’s opening goal, then scored herself in the second half to give the Quakers’ their first-ever win over the Crimson in Philadelphia.
On Monday, Kaiser was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her efforts. It marks the second time the sophomore has been honored by the league office during her career. Kaiser also scored a goal midweek vs. UMBC.
On Tuesday, Kaiser was named to the SoccerBuzz.com National Elite Team of the Week; she is the first Penn player to be recognized on that squad since Natalie Capuano a year ago.
Sophomore Sarah Friedman continues to lead Penn in scoring, with two goals and seven assists. She has figured in nine of the Quakers’ 16 goals this season.
Just eight matches into her sophomore year, Friedman has 12 career assists which ties her for eighth on Penn’s all-time list (with Andrea Callaghan, 1996-99).
With Penn reaching the midway point of its season tonight, Friedman’s seven assists already have her tied for fourth place on Penn’s single-season list.
Friedman entered the week leading all Ivy League players in assists per game (0.88) and was tied for third in points per game (1.38).
Senior Molly Weir is third among Ivy player with 0.62 assists per game, while Kaiser and senior Natalie Capuano are tied for seventh in goals per game (0.38).
Junior Sara Rose has gotten the shutouts each of the last two matches, lowering her goals-against average for the season to 1.05; she is tied for first among Ivy goalies with three clean sheets.
About Saint Joseph’s
The Hawks (6-2-1) are riding a wave of confidence, having gone unbeaten in their last seven matches after starting the season with two losses on the West Coast. This past weekend, SJU opened Atlantic 10 play with a 1-0 win at Rhode Island and a 1-1 tie with Dayton. Jen Pfeiffer leads the team with four goals, while Kortney Rhoades, Amanda Morrell and Danielle DeBernardo have two apiece. In goal, Cara Critchlow has started five matches and boasts a 1.06 goals-against average, while Megan Bastianelli has started four matches and has a 2.06 GAA
Quoting Head Coach Darren Ambrose
“I think Saint Joseph’s will come in tomorrow pretty motivated; especially after last year, I think this is a big game for them. But I think we will be motivated, too. This is a city game, and while we may not have a formal agreement like the men do with the Soccer Seven, when you play a city team you want to gain bragging rights. There will be plenty of familiarity with the players and the programs, and it will add to the intensity.”
“Saint Joseph’s is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and they are a much different team than they were a year ago. We will have to play well. We tell the players all the time, there is not a team on our schedule that we can’t beat, and by the same token there isn’t a team on our schedule who can’t beat us. We have to take that approach for this game.”
“Momentum and confidence are two of the bigger battles you face with any team, and we are gaining in both after the last two matches. We are showing the ability to score, and at the other end we are defending well and holding onto leads. I think our players are starting to understand each other better on the field, and the newcomers are developing an idea of what the expectations are.”