While Penn women's soccer might have the most important game to play this weekend, here's a look at three others teams that will also be in action.
Penn field hockey will play for a share of the Ivy League title when it faces off against rival Princeton on Saturday. The Quakers (9-7, 5-1 Ivy) will meet the No. 4 Tigers (12-4, 5-1) in what will be both teams’ last regular season game of the season.
Penn is coming off back-to-back Ivy wins and has the potential to finish tied with Harvard for first place in the conference. Princeton, though, is neck and neck with the Red and Blue, as they are also tied for second place in the Ancient Eight.
The Tigers have moved toward the top of the national rankings behind strong outings against other top teams. In ten games against ranked opponents this year, Princeton has won six and kept all of its losses within two goals. In fact, the Tigers' biggest loss came against the team they are trying to catch: Harvard. On their home turf, the Tigers fell 3-1 to continue the Crimson’s undefeated run in Ivy play. This game came three weeks after the Quakers lost a heartbreaker to Harvard by a score of 2-1.
Against all other Ivy opponents, though, Princeton has been near perfect. It has shut out the other six opponents in each of its games, while also scoring a combined 24 goals.
On the other side, the Red and Blue have been able to keep up their strong defense and opportune scoring. Against those same conference opponents, the Quakers earned five shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Ava Rosati and her defense is giving up just 1.62 goals per game in 16 contests.
The key for the Quakers in this game will be the second half. All season, Penn has performed better in the first half than the second, especially in defensive areas. 67 percent of the team's goals allowed and just 40 percent of its goals scored have come during the latter period. This means that the Red and Blue defense will need to be even stronger on Saturday, especially with Princeton typically being so dominant in the second half. In the second half of games this season, the Tigers have scored 29 goals, nine more than the Penn offense has scored all season.
As a potential share of an Ivy League title looms, the Quakers will look for a low-scoring affair between two stout defenses. If this happens, they have the potential to break their 0-6 streak against ranked opponents on the season and win their first Ivy title since 2004.
Penn men’s soccer will also be playing a rivalry game against Princeton this Saturday. This matchup, however, will hold slightly less importance. The Quakers (4-4-6, 1-3-1) are out of contention for an Ivy title while the Tigers (9-4-2, 4-0-1) remain at the top of the conference standings, sitting one point above Columbia with just two games left. This means that Penn will be looking to play spoiler to prevent Princeton from winning its first Ancient Eight title since 2014.
The Red and Blue will aim to keep their winning streak in tact after one-goal wins against both Brown and Delaware this past weekend. The four goals they scored nearly doubled their total for the entire season, as they scored just five times in their previous 12 games. This scoring outburst has been spearheaded by sophomore forward Jake Kohlbrenner, who netted a goal in each of the wins from the weekend.
The Quakers will need some of that magic if they are to penetrate the Tigers’ tough defense. Through fifteen games on the year, Princeton has allowed just 0.60 goals per game.
It will be an uphill battle for Penn to upend the top-ranked team in the conference. With a winning streak under their belt and goals coming steadily at this point in the season, however, the Red and Blue are in a prime position to force Princeton to put their title celebrations on pause.
Though it has been a disappointing season so far, Penn volleyball will look to salvage the rest of its season, starting with two matches in New York. The Quakers (5-16, 2-8) will head up to Ithaca to face Cornell (12-8, 7-3) on Friday before a Saturday date with Columbia (9-11, 3-7).
After sweeping its opponents three weeks ago, Penn has struggled to keep it rolling, losing three matches in a row to fall into a last place tie in the Ancient Eight. The Red and Blue have some reason to be encouraged, though, as their two wins three weeks ago came against the same opponents that the team will face this weekend.
In their earlier meeting this year, the Quakers dropped Cornell by a score of 3-1. After narrowly losing the first set, Penn stormed back to take the final three and win its second Ivy match in a row. The day earlier, the Red and Blue took on Columbia in what ended up being a sweep of a tough Lions side.
This time around, Cornell is hot, having gone undefeated since their loss to Penn. Cornell is also in contention for an Ivy League title which should give them even more motivation. Columbia, on the other hand, is riding a five game losing streak, which started with the loss against Penn.
Two wins this weekend will give the Quakers something to look forward to as they gear up for the offseason. Anything less, though, and they risk a last place finish in the conference.
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