Penn football is getting its season started this weekend on Saturday in a nonconference tilt against Jacksonville, but some of us are already looking ahead to Ivy play. Sports Editors Ian Wenik and Holden McGinnis debate which Ancient Eight rival poses the biggest threat to the Quakers this year.
Sports Editor Ian Wenik: This is an easy one. It’s Princeton. The Tigers dealt the death blow to the Quakers last year when they came back from a 16-0 deficit to win on Homecoming, 38-26, and they’re just as much of a threat this time around. Sure, defensive tackle Caraun Reid is in the NFL now, but Princeton returns players like two-time first-team All-Ivy selection Anthony Gaffney at corner and 2013 second-team All-Ivy selection Mike Zeuli at linebacker. Their defense won’t miss a beat.
Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: While we’re on the topic of experienced defenses, how about Harvard? Princeton came away with the win against Harvard, 51-48, in three overtimes, but the Crimson pose just as serious a threat. While Harvard graduated a number of All-Ivy players in one of its strongest senior classes in recent memory, they still return dynamic players up and down their roster.
Senior defensive lineman Zach Hodges will pose an even more serious threat to the aforementioned inexperienced offensive line of the Quakers. Meanwhile, the secondary is anchored by senior defensive back Norman Hayes, Harvard’s sole captain. The Crimson still have a strong offense, led by senior quarterback Conner Hempel and junior running back Paul Stanton. Barring injury, they’ll pose serious issues for the Quakers in all phases of the game.
IW: I think that the Tigers have a thing or two to say about offensive firepower. Quinn Epperly is still Princeton’s quarterback, and who could forget his NCAA record-setting performance against Cornell, when he completed 29 passes in a row? Epperly fully deserved to be named Ivy Offensive Player of the Year last season. My only concern is that he’s lost his favorite target, wide receiver Roman Wilson, to graduation. Who will take his place? It might be one of the Tigers’ two main senior wideouts — Seth DeValve or Matt Costello.
Making matters easier for Epperly is that he has running back DiAndre Atwater in the backfield once again — Atwater averaged a solid 4.7 yards per carry last year. Outside of the question mark of No. 1 receiver, I don’t really see a major hole in Princeton’s depth chart. Do you see any weakness in Harvard?
HM: For Harvard, it’s a pretty similar situation in terms of weakness. The Crimson lost their top two receiving targets in wide receiver Ricky Zorn and tight end Cameron Brate. However, they retain most of their other offensive weapons, primarily Stanton and junior wide receiver Andrew Fischer. Hempel has plenty of weapons for his senior campaign and should be able to put up similar numbers to their third-best passing offense last season.
Verdict: It’s a draw as both are daunting competitors to the Red and Blue.
You missed Haiku Corner, didn't you? The Buzz's signature poetry feature returns, previewing a fun weekend in Penn Athletics
Quakers head out west
Shake memory of Blue Hens
Face number one Stanford
Soccer in Seattle
Poplawski and Schott come home
Try to keep winning
Playing to a draw
Chevtchenko finds back of net
Next up is the Tribe
Fairfield comes to Penn
Quakers showing some true grit
Weisenfels in goal
Start of the season
Cross country takes on Big 5
Villanova top test
Jacksonville is near
King and co. quite excited
Freshmen ready as well
For anyone in the University City area, Penn women's soccer's match tonight against St. Francis has been moved up to 6 PM due to inclement weather in the area later tonight.
The game was originally scheduled for 7 PM. Penn comes into the match with a 2-0 record after two close wins last weekend. The match will be played at Rhodes Field and will be available on the Ivy League Digital Network.
The Quakers play on Sunday as well at 2:30 against William & Mary, also at Rhodes Field.
Here is our preview of Penn's weekend matches.
Sophomore midfielder Lindsey Sawczuk scored her first goal of 2014 against Old Dominion last weekend and added an assist on a Ana Chevtchenko goal on Thursday night vs. St. Francis (Pa.). -
Following an opening weekend in which Penn women’s soccer won two matches, the Quakers (2-0) will look to keep up the good vibes in their home matches against St. Francis (Pa.) tonight and William & Mary on Sunday. Going against the winless Red Flash, the Red and Blue will be heavily favored to win their third straight match to start the season. Here are some of the reasons why this is the case, and a few reasons why Penn needs to be careful not to slip up.
Clutch play: To start last season, the Red and Blue notched two 4-0 wins, kick-starting a run that would eventually lead Penn to a 12-1-4 overall record. The road to start this campaign has not been an easy one, with Penn winning both games it has played by only one-goal margins. It took the Quakers overtime to win their last match against Old Dominion courtesy of a goal by freshman Kristen Miller. While they may not have shown dominance yet, this early experience should bode well for the Quakers if it is a close match against St. Francis.
Penn’s defense: When you think of Penn women’s soccer, you should think of defense. Last year, the Quakers featured one of the top statistical backlines in the country. With several difference makers — like back Haley Cooper and keeper Kalijah Terilli — returning, the same should be the case this year. They may have given up an uncharacteristic two goals in their last match, but the Quakers’ defense should stand tall tonight.
Winless opponent: St. Francis is currently 0-6 on the year, not including an exhibition contest it also lost. The Red Flash have been shut out in four of their six matches. To boot, they have been outscored by a combined total of 14 goals. Not to rub it in, but it hasn’t been pretty. This should be a golden opportunity to pick up an early season win.
Penn’s scoring: Offense was the Quakers’ Achilles’ heel last season, and it looks like that may be the case once again this year. Despite winning both of their matches, the Quakers have only been able to produce two goal scorers in regular time thus far. Penn will look to its young players — like sophomore Lindsey Sawczuk, who notched a key score against Old Dominion — to provide a spark offensively moving forward.
Conditioning: Penn has played significantly less competitive soccer than St. Francis has to start the season. This will be the team’s third match in five days, with the last having gone into overtime, and the first significant test of its overall conditioning. It will be interesting to see if the Red and Blue have the legs to fight through the fatigue.
NCAA implications: Despite putting up a very strong overall record and impressive team statistics last season, the Quakers were snubbed from last year’s NCAA tournament. This year, they won’t want to take any chances, and a loss to a winless team would not look good on their resume moving forward.
After releasing the key opening game of its 2014–15 schedule midway through the summer, Penn women’s basketball released the rest of its slate Tuesday afternoon. And rather unsurprisingly, it’s fairly similar to last year.
The nonconference schedule features plenty of familiar faces, as the Quakers will go up against the Big Five — against whom they finished 2-2 last year — and local rival Drexel once again. The toughest of those matchups will likely be St. Joe’s, who finished 23-10 on the season and earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Red and Blue had one of their most impressive seasons in Big Five play last season, with their only two losses coming by a combined 10 points. Penn’s win over La Salle was its first at Tom Gola Arena since 1973-74.
In addition to the usual lineup of Philadelphia schools, Penn will face off against UMBC, New Hampshire and Hampton — a fellow 12-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament — in the Palestra. The game against Hampton will provide the Quakers with a strong nonconference test in early December.
Penn also added Navy and Lafayette as road games for the season.
With three NCAA Tournament foes and a handful of programs that played in the WNIT, the Quakers now have nine games against teams that played in the postseason last year.
The Ivy slate begins and ends with double-headers with the men’s team against Princeton, starting with a Jan. 10 trip to New Jersey.
If this season plays out at all like last year, the season-ending matchup against Princeton at the Palestra will hold plenty of weight in the Ivy League standings. For those who have somehow already forgotten, last year saw Penn travel to Princeton for a de facto Ivy League championship game, which the Quakers won.
Bookended by two exciting games and filled with some interesting nonconference matchups, the schedule for Penn women’s basketball will provide the challenges necessary to prepare the team for the late season push in their Ivy title defense.
With the opening weekend come and gone, a number of freshmen had the chance to show why they were so heavily recruited by the Quakers. With the rest of the fall season in mind, these freshmen figure to have some of the largest impacts on the outcomes of their respective teams.
Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: While the performance of freshman midfielder Austin Kuhn earned him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors this past weekend, the men’s soccer freshman who stood out to me on the pitch was back Luka Martinovic. The Bayville, N.Y. native earned the start in both matches this weekend and provided solid defensive play from the back line.
Though he only tallied one assist on the weekend, Martinovic was involved in creating a number of opportunities for the Quakers on the attack and should prove to be a key cog moving forward. As Penn works out the opening weekend kinks on defense, the freshman appears to clearly be part of the solution.
Sports Editor Ian Wenik: Since you’ve set me up so nicely, I’m going to shout out a freshman attacker on a different sport. How about Alexa Hoover on field hockey? I watched her at both of Penn’s games last weekend, and she was one of the most energetic players on the field. Against Lehigh on Friday, she scored a hat trick and added an assist for good measure. That last goal, by the way, was a particularly impressive display of athleticism. Hoover batted down a high pass with her stick and then performed the field hockey equivalent of a one-touch goal in soccer.
Sure, last year’s freshman star Jasmine Cole is gone, but if Hoover can keep up her scoring touch, the Quakers should be just fine.
Senior Sports Editor Steven Tydings: There are a lot of underclassmen who have already made impacts in their respective sports — freshman middle block Kendall Covington on Penn volleyball for example. But I’m going to focus on a freshman that has yet to make an impact, and that’s wide receiver Justin Watson for Penn football.
Looking at the talent that the Red and Blue has returning at the skill positions, it is surprising that a first-year player could crack the lineup. Freshmen don’t usually find much playing time for coach Al Bagnoli anyway, but when you have Conner Scott, Ty Taylor, Spencer Kulcsar and Cam Countryman returning, it’s tough to imagine anyone cracking the lineup.
Yet Bagnoli told The Daily Pennsylvanian that Watson is part of the first group of receivers that will take the field. Watson played high school football in western Pennsylvania, earning all-state and all-conference recognition in his senior season. For him to make it into the rotation his first season, he has some clear talent that he is ready to show off.
On Tuesday, the Ivy League released the national broadcast schedule for its football games this fall.
Penn will appear in three of the 13 national broadcasts. Penn's Oct. 4 matchup with Dartmouth will appear on Fox College Sports while the Quakers visits to Yale on Oct. 25 and Princeton on Nov. 8 will be on NBC Sports Network.
Al Bagnoli's final game as Penn's head coach will not be on national TV as NBCSN will broadcast Harvard-Yale and Fox College Sports will show Columbia at Brown that weekend.
Here is the schedule if you want to take a look at the full thing.
Penn basketball coach Jerome Allen had a memorable and successful career with the Red and Blue in the early 90s, helping Penn capture three Ivy titles during his time. -
Students at Penn right now haven’t seen a time when anyone other than Jerome Allen was the head coach of Penn basketball. But that time did indeed exist.
On Sept. 10, 1991, then-head coach Fran Dunphy gave The Daily Pennsylvanian a sneak peak into what he thought about the players he had recruited to join the Red and Blue. One of those recruits was a 6-foot-3 guard from Episcopal Academy (Pa.) named, you guessed it, Jerome Allen.
Dunphy said at the time that he didn’t expect Allen to step right into the starting lineup but that he was hoping Allen would “challenge the four returning guards for playing time and, somewhere during the course of the season, possibly start.”
The Quakers had played through consecutive losing seasons to begin Dunphy’s time as coach. While the Quakers wouldn’t win the Ivy title in the 1991-92 season, they laid the groundwork for an era of dominance. Allen did make his way into the starting lineup, starting 20 of the 26 games he played in while averaging 12.2 points per contest.
In Allen’s sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Penn didn’t lose a single Ivy game, going a perfect 42-0 in that span led by Allen and guard Matt Maloney.
However, it wasn’t just Allen that made Dunphy’s recruiting class special. Allen was joined by 6-foot-7 forward Shawn Trice, who became a starter in the frontcourt for the Red and Blue in a short span.
Scott Kegler, a 6-foot-5 guard, and 6-foot-6 forward Eric Moore would also play parts in the Red and Blue’s impressive run.
All of this added up to a pretty impressive class that Dunphy introduced to Penn’s campus in the fall of 1991.
Villanova junior quarterback John Robertson dominated Saturday’s game against Fordham, a matchup between two of Penn football’s nonconference opponents. Robertson, who beat Penn each of the last two years, scored four touchdowns in a win. -
Penn football wasn’t in action on Saturday, but two of its future nonconference opponents faced off in a battle of ranked opponents.
No. 10 Villanova took on Fordham, which was ranked one spot below the Wildcats in the FCS polls. The result was extremely lopsided, as the higher ranked Wildcats beatdown the Rams, 50-6, at Villanova Stadium.
Villanova redshirt-junior quarterback John Robertson, who has beaten Penn each of the last two years, had a banner day both on the ground and through the air. He went 17-for-24 while throwing for 216 yards and three touchdowns and added a score on the ground.
Two of his touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Poppy Livers, who had eight catches for 110 yards on the day. Livers scored two touchdowns against Penn last season with 121 yards receiving.
Fordham was coming off a 52-23 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) last weekend while Villanova lost in double overtime to Syracuse, an FBS opponent.
The Quakers face Villanova in its home opener on Sept. 27 before traveling to Fordham on Oct. 11 during fall break.
Penn’s first game will come on Sept. 20 against Jacksonville, a squad out of the Pioneer League.
The Dolphins started out the season on Aug. 30, falling to Southeastern Louisiana, 44-3, on the road. Jacksonville is in the middle of renovations to its stadium. The school is adding a 25-by-13 foot video screen as well as a 2,900 seat grandstand and a new pressbox.
According to Jacksonville’s website, the construction is expected to be finished by the Dolphins’ home opener on Sept. 13.
Senior back Lauren Hammond will provide another veteran presence for Penn's otherwise experienced and accomplished backline this year. -
Sports Editor Colin Henderson: Volleyball may not be considered one of the marquee sports at Penn, but the team certainly held its own last year, going 8-6 in the Ivy League and 14-11 overall despite a rough start to the year. The program certainly had reason for optimism going into this season.
However, change is in the air for the program. With the loss of sophomore Arielle Winfield — who will look to walk on to the track team — and significant senior leadership in the offseason, there are questions as to how the new team will look together at the start of this season. With three home matches over the weekend, I’m looking forward to seeing how they answer the bell. How about you, Holden?
Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: All eyes should be on Rhodes Field Friday for what should be another classic in the men’s soccer matchup between Penn and Drexel. There’s a little bit of everything to this matchup. Penn’s looking to show they’re still a top program after graduating a loaded senior class and they get to do it against a University City and Big Five rival in Drexel. Last year’s match was a 3-2 thriller as the Quakers held off a late Dragons surge in the final minutes and this year should be more of the same.
And don’t forget about Central Connecticut State, which faces off against the Quakers on Sunday in the second match of the University City Classic. It’ll be unfamiliar territory for both teams as they meet for the first time. With old friends and new, there’s plenty to get excited about for men’s soccer this weekend.
Sports Editor Ian Wenik: Holden is right about coming down to Rhodes Field, but people should be swinging by a few hours earlier to watch women’s soccer take on Old Dominion. Coach Darren Ambrose’s brand of defensive-oriented soccer isn’t going to light up the scoreboard, but it grinds out results. With the team already coming off a road match at Mount St. Mary’s on Friday, I don’t expect to see any early-season sloppiness whatsoever.
Haley Cooper, Caroline Dwyer, Lauren Hammond, Kaljiah Terilli ... the list goes on. Penn’s back line and keeper can match up with any team in the Ivy League. It’ll be exciting to see them in action for the first time in 2014.
Senior Sports Editor Steven Tydings: To paraphrase Eminem, you forgot about field hockey. But seriously, the field hockey team definitely excites me going into this weekend. Speaking with senior captain Emily Corcoran early this week, the team is young, which means we will get to see them grow before our eyes. Having leadership from seniors like Corcoran will help make things go smoothly.
Regardless of which teams the Quakers are playing, those opponents are coming to a pretty nice place at Ellen Vagelos Field. A young team, some solid leaders and a great field. What more can you ask for?