As the leaves turn brown, the fall sports season begins to reach its climax, and several of Penn’s sports teams are in the mix for championship glory. Let’s take a look at the exciting weekend of action ahead.
Penn football (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) will face its second Ivy League opponent this weekend after one of their most stellar starts to the season in recent memory. The group is 4-0 for the first time since 2003, and will put its undefeated record to the test when it hosts Columbia (3-1, 0-1) this Saturday at Franklin Field at 1 p.m.
After a rousing 2OT victory at Dartmouth (1-3, 0-2) two weeks ago, and a drubbing of Georgetown (1-5) over the weekend, the Quakers are riding high heading into the teeth of their Ivy League schedule. The defense has continually demonstrated its fortitude, and the offense had its best performance of the season in a 59-point effort against the Hoyas. Columbia’s lone loss came against Princeton, another Ivy League contender, and the Lions will certainly not pose an easy victory. But if Penn wants to prove its new winning ways are legitimate, it'll need to continue to do so against difficult competition.
Quaker to Watch: Trey Flowers (Running Back) — The senior tailback and team captain erupted for 149 yards and two touchdowns against Georgetown, with an impressive average of 8.8 yards per carry. The Miami native has been crucial for Penn’s ball control all season long, and his ability to continue running well will play a large role in determining how the rest of the season plays out.
It is another jam-packed weekend for the Penn volleyball (2-13, 1-4) team, with matches at Brown (8-6) on Friday night at 7 p.m., and at Yale (13-1) on Saturday at 5 p.m. It will be a tough stretch for the Quakers, as Brown features the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week, Beau Vanderlaan, while Yale is currently riding an 11-game win streak and boasts an undefeated conference record.
A victory against either team would be enormous for a Penn squad that, at 2-13, is still trying to get its season back on track. The Quakers took a step in the right direction in their most recent match, earning a 3-2 comeback win over Cornell (3-11) for their first conference victory. Following this weekend’s road trip, the team will enter a lengthy homestand of five consecutive matches at the Palestra.
Quaker to Watch: Ella Green (Outside Hitter) — Green, who stands 6-foot-1, had a game-high 14 kills in Penn’s victory over Cornell. She has been a bright spot on the team in just her sophomore season, and will hope to provide a consistent presence around the net for years to come.
After a 40-0 waxing at the hands of Army (3-1) two weeks ago, sprint football rebounded with a 9-6 victory over Chestnut Hill (0-3) at Franklin Field last Friday. This week, Penn will travel to Ithaca to face off with Cornell (0-3), the lone other Ivy League team on its schedule.
The group currently sits at 2-2, with two games remaining on the schedule after Cornell. One is against Navy, the class of the CSFL. In order to have a chance in that contest, and to finish the year in winning fashion, Penn will need both sides of the ball playing at their best.
Quaker to Watch: Adrian Montemayor (Defensive Back, Punter) — Contributing on offense or defense alone is one thing, but Montemayor made his mark both defensively and on special teams against Chestnut Hill. He snagged an interception, recorded four tackles, kicked a field goal, and booted three punts in an all-around effort that earned him CSFL Special Teams Player of the Week.
Only one of Penn’s golf teams will see action this weekend, with the men’s team concluding its fall season on October 4th with a 10th place finish at the Hamptons Intercollegiate. The women’s group has its final outing this weekend, competing Saturday and Sunday at the Lady Blue Hen Invitational at the University of Delaware.
It has been a successful campaign overall for the women’s golf program, though it struggled this week at the Ivy Intercollegiate. The second day of the event pitted Penn’s golfers against players from the Atlantic Coast Conference, and while some of the matches were competitive, the Quakers ultimately went 0-5. This weekend, they will look to conclude the fall in style and build momentum for the spring season.
Quaker to Watch: Bridget O’Keefe — O’Keefe gave UNC’s Vilde Marie Nystrom all she could handle in the ACC matchup, with seven ties throughout the day and an eventual 2-1 loss. She finished 13th among Ivy League players, an effort she will try to replicate this weekend.
Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will be in Charlottesville, Va. for the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational. The men’s race will begin at 10 a.m., and the women’s race at 11 a.m. Both squads placed in the top 20 of the Paul Short Invitational several weeks ago (women’s team 18th out of 46, men’s team 14th out of 46) and have just two more meets to prepare before beginning their championship season.
There will be plenty of stout competition for Penn’s runners to pace themselves against. A total of 17 men’s teams and 18 women’s teams are racing in the meet, including No. 7 Wake Forest and No. 19 Texas on the men’s side. Fast competition can often produce unprecedented times, but only time will tell if the Quakers can capitalize on the opportunity before them.
Quakers to Watch: Maeve Stiles — After finishing 15th at the Paul Short Invitational, the highest of any Penn runner, there is plenty of reason to believe Stiles can make noise both this weekend and in the meets ahead.
Michael Keehan — A senior for the men’s team and holder of the eighth-best 1,500 meter time in program history, Keehan is no stranger to success. With only a few races left to run in his cross country career, much of the pressure to lead the team to success falls on his shoulders.
The field hockey team will look to build on its current two-game win streak as it hosts Brown at Ellen Vagelos Field on Saturday at noon. After starting the season 0-7, the group has rebounded in dramatic fashion, winning three of its last four contests and earning all three victories by way of a shutout.
The Quakers' schedule has been nothing short of brutal to this point, but with none of their six remaining opponents currently ranked in the top 25 nationally, the possibility of a winning season still exists. To make that a reality, the team will need to continue the level of defensive intensity its shown in recent games, and not allow the tight losses of earlier in the season to reemerge.
Quaker to Watch: Gracyn Banks (Defense/Midfield) — Banks was unanimously selected to the All-Ivy first team in 2021, and earned two Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week awards. Now a senior, she has continued her impressive play, and netted a goal in the victory over Cornell.
Both soccer teams are on the road against Ivy League opponents this weekend, with the women’s team traveling to Dartmouth (6-4-2) for a match on Saturday at 3 p.m., and the men’s team taking on Cornell (9-2) at 4 p.m. It will be a crucial matchup for the men, who are currently tied with Cornell for first in the Ivy League. Both of Penn's teams teams sport winning records, with the women’s group a game above .500 at 3-2-7, and the men’s team in the midst of a red-hot seven-game win streak.
This shared success is a welcome sign for the programs, which both finished above average in 2021. In the case of the men’s team this season, above average is not a sufficient adjective. The team is currently outscoring its opponents by a combined margin of 28-6, and has not allowed more than one goal in a game all season. If it can emerge from Ithaca with a victory on Saturday, the Ivy League title will be theirs to lose.
Quaker to Watch: Laurence Gladu (Goalie) — The last line of defense for the Quakers was an All-Ivy honorable mention a season ago, and has two shutouts so far this season.
Ben Stitz (Midfield) — Stitz is making his senior season one to remember, with goals in seven straight games and an Ivy League-best nine on the season. Leading his team to a conference championship would be a storybook ending to what has been a remarkable collegiate career.
All three of Penn’s rowing teams will begin their season this Sunday at the Navy Day Regatta on the Schuylkill River. The event will see the men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s squads compete against other collegiate groups, including Philadelphia rivals like Villanova, Drexel, and Temple. It will mark the first of three chances for the team to showcase its skills.
The men’s heavyweight team is currently in a state of adjustment after hiring Al Monte as its new head coach in September. Monte previously served as associate head coach at Dartmouth, and helped recruit many prolific classes of rowers to the Big Green. The Quakers can only hope he will bring that same prowess to Penn.
Quakers to Watch: Tomio Filiaci (Men’s Heavyweight) — The towering 6-foot-7 senior was invited to the US Rowing U23 camp in 2021, and will look to build on what has been a strong career thus far.
Sophia Leung (Men’s Heavyweight) — Last season, in just her first year with Penn rowing, Leung was part of a third varsity boat that participated in IRA Nationals, a promising sign both for this season and seasons to come.