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Cornell's Kelley Kantarian has scored four goals in four games played this season.

It will be up to the Penn field hockey team to stop her.

Tonight at 5 p.m. on Franklin Field, the Quakers will kick off their Ivy League season with a matchup against the Big Red and its potent offense.

"It's going to be a defining game for us," sophomore midfielder Kirstin Snyder said. "I feel like what happens from this is going to determine the rest of the season."

With the help of Kantarian's offensive play, Cornell (4-0, 0-0 Ivy) enters the Ancient Eight season undefeated after coming off a second-place Ivy finish in 2008.

The Big Red's strength comes from not only the talent of its senior attacker, but from the depth of their offense as well. An astonishing nine players have found the back of the cage for Cornell this season, three of which have scored more than once.

"They come really strong into the circle," Penn sophomore goalkeeper Kieran Sweeney said.

The Quakers (2-3, 0-0) are hoping that their home field will truly offer them an advantage. While Cornell is used to playing on the AstroTurf of Marsha Dodson Field, Penn is accustomed to the much thicker Sprinturf.

"Hopefully our field will slow them down a little bit," Penn coach Val Cloud said.

Cloud is confident that her seasoned defense can handle Cornell's offensive depth.

"Where I have my real experience is in the backfield," Cloud said. "They've been showing composure."

Senior defenders Sarah Warner and Katie Burke will attempt to clear the ball out of Penn's defensive end and set up fast break opportunities.

"Even though some people don't think so, it really starts from the defense up," Sweeney said.

The Quakers, who have converted only seven of their 41 shots on the cage into goals, are looking to capitalize on any chances they may have to get on the board.

"It seemed like we would have breakaways and get in the circle and they would just take it," Snyder said. "We have to work on finishing."

The Quakers have only earned 14 corners, compared to Cornell's 40. However, Penn has a higher shooting percentage (.171 versus .154), due in part to their ability to convert corners into goals. And sometimes even rebounds off corners have gone in, Cloud said.

However, because Cornell's offense is so strong, the Quakers should be prepared to handle their penalty corner plays as well.

"We open up with a tough one," Cloud said. "It's just a very competitive league so both will be up for it."

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