Women's Soccer Ready to Kick Off 2011 Season

Preseason Interview With Junior Captain Erin Beck

PHILADELPHIA -A majority of the NCAA Division I women's soccer programs have started their seasons, with many of them playing two weeks' worth of games already. The exception, of course, is the Ivy League, which opens play this weekend. For the Ancient Eight's defending champion, Penn, that means a pair of home games -- the Quakers host UMBC Friday night at 7 p.m., and Delaware Sunday in the second half of a doubleheader at Rhodes Field (following the men's game with Saint Joseph's at 5:30 p.m.). Admission is free to all Penn regular-season soccer games.

Penn vs. UMBC: The Quakers and the Retrievers played three straight years, from 2007-09, with Penn winning all three handily. In those three meetings, the Red and Blue outscored UMBC 10-0.

About UMBC: The Retrievers (0-3) most recently lost in double overtime, 2-1, to Temple here in Philadelphia. UMBC was scheduled to host Texas State last Sunday, but the match was washed out due to Hurricane Irene. In its first weekend, UMBC lost to American (2-1) and Campbell (2-0). Amy Savage has figured in both goals this season, scoring against Temple and assisting the goal vs. American that was scored by Rachel McKee. In goal, Lauren Kadet and Mo Van Vlerah have basically split duties; Kadet has a 2.00 goals-against average in 180 minutes, while Van Vlerah has a 1.57 GAA in 115 minutes.

Penn vs. Delaware: Despite their relative proximity, the Quakers and the Blue Hens are meeting for the first time since 2002. Delaware leads the series, 6-5, although Penn has won four of the last six meetings.

About Delaware: The Blue Hens (1-2), who open the weekend at Saint Joseph's, went 1-1 at the James Madison/Fairfield Inn by Marriott Invitational last week, defeating Stony Brook (3-0) but falling to Pitt (1-0). Delaware opened the season on August 21 with a 2-0 loss to La Salle. Melissa Pennington has two of UDel's goals, while Tania Domingos has the other. Shannon Kearney has two assists. In goal, Breanna Stemler has played every minute and boasts a 1.04 goals-against average.

About Penn...

*Penn has won two of the last four Ivy League titles; last year, the Quakers went 4-1-2 in Ivy play and narrowly edged Princeton for the championship.

*Overall, Penn went 9-7-2 last year including its NCAA Championship first-round loss to Penn State. The Quakers have never had a losing record under 12th-year head coach Darren Ambrose.

*Penn opens the 2011 season with three of its first four games at home. The lone exception? Next Friday, when the Quakers meet Villanova at PPL Park, the home of Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union.

*The Quakers return seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall from last year's team, which won the Ivy League title for the second time in four years and third time in program history.

*Sophomore Kerry Scalora was the Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year last season, as well as a second-team All-Ivy honoree. She tied with seniors Marin McDermott and Ursula Lopez-Palm for the goalscoring lead last year, with five.

*McDermott received honorable mention All-Ivy last year, the third time in three years she garnered All-Ivy honors. She enters the 2011 season tied for 10th on Penn's all-time goalscoring list with 14, and 11th all-time with 35 points.

*At the other end, senior goalkeeper Caroline Williams -- one of this year's captains, along with classmate Adrienne Lerner and junior Erin Beck -- was honorable mention All-Ivy in 2010 after collecting seven shutouts and a 0.88 goals-against average.

*When you compare Williams' career numbers against Penn's history, she rates pretty favorably. She enters her senior year second in career goals-against average (0.99), third in save percentage (.802), and her next shutout will tie her for the program record with Vanessa Scotto (13 clean sheets from 2000-03).

*Penn has holes to fill. Kaitlin Campbell and Sarah Friedman, both first-team All-Ivy recipients last year, have graduated. (Friedman graduated as the program's all-time leader in assists.) So has Marisa Schoen, a four-year starter on defense.