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Right now, the Penn women's soccer team is in cruise control.

The Quakers are stifling the opposition on the road to success, compiling a 4-0-1 record with a combination of smothering defense and timely scoring.

And if an impressive record wasn't enough momentum for the Red and Blue, more fuel was injected into the high-powered Quakers as they learned this week of their No. 5 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

But in the horizon is a formidable roadblock. It's a roadblock the Quakers have yet to encounter this season but have seen many times in years past-- their first Ivy League game of the fall.

"All the Ivy League games we play are a step up from normal competition because it's for the ring, the Ivy title, and an ego battle with the rest of the Ivies," Penn sophomore goalkeeper Vanessa Scotto said.

That said, the Red and Blue will have to be in full gear on Saturday at Rhodes Field, as Dartmouth looks to stop the Quakers in their path.

As Penn looks to continue down the road to glory, it will rely on stopping Dartmouth in its tracks, adhering to the "attacking-by-defending" approach that coach Darren Ambrose has instilled in his team.

No opponent has lit up the scoreboard on the Quakers in 345 minutes of play, and Scotto has yet to yield a goal. With such a stingy defense, success is easy to come by.

"Defensively, we've done a great job and we have to continue to do that," Ambrose said.

Of course, the Red and Blue also have to put the ball in the net and take more advantage of the scoring chances they get.

Junior midfielder Heather Taylor knows better than any Penn player about capitalizing on scoring opportunities, as she just missed a chance to put the Quakers in a position to upset nationally ranked William and Mary last weekend.

"We have to work on finishing," Taylor said. "We haven't been able to get the goal across the line when we needed to."

To overcome the Big Green, though, the Quakers will have to concentrate on more than just improving their own shortcomings.

"Dartmouth is known for its athleticism," Ambrose said. "They're big and strong and very good in the air, so we have to keep the ball on the ground."

The Red and Blue are also eager to avenge a crushing 1-0 overtime loss they suffered at the hands of the Big Green in Hanover, N.H., last October.

"Last year, a lot of things went wrong and a lot of people are looking forward to playing big this weekend and winning big," Taylor said.

A convincing win is tough to come by in Ivy League competition, as many games are decided by one goal.

But the Quakers are running on all cylinders, and stopping an unrelenting force set on victory is perhaps even tougher.

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