With one game left in the Ivy League soccer season, Penn finds itself locked in a three-way tie for the top of the Ivy table, as the Quakers, Harvard, and Yale have all picked up 11 points through their first six conference games. Therefore, this weekend's games will be all-important for both a regular season Ivy League title and seeding in the Ivy League Tournament, whose winner will have an automatic bid to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
On the final matchday of 2023, Harvard is set to head to Dartmouth, while Yale hosts Brown and Penn plays Princeton at home. If all three teams were to win, lose, or draw, the Ivy title would be split between all three of them, or the two that end up with the better result. Beyond this, Brown is just one point behind, and has a shot at a title if they defeat the Bulldogs this upcoming weekend.
However, to determine seeding for the Ivy Tournament, there can be no ties. And while all three teams have already secured spots, their placement is yet unknown. The Ivy League Tournament will be hosted at the site of the number one seed.
Therefore, if all three teams — or a pair of them — were tied at the end of the season, here is how a number one seed would be determined, and the Quakers' path to the top spot.
The first tiebreaker that will be used is the number of points against the other teams that are tied. The Quakers drew Yale 1-1 last month, and beat Harvard 2-1 two weekends ago, giving them four points against the other tied teams. With their 3-1 win against Yale three weeks ago, the Crimson have three points, leaving the Bulldogs with just a singular point from those two games. Therefore, if the three teams were to get the same result this weekend, the Ivy League Tournament would be headed to Penn Park.
If Penn ends up tied with Yale following the conclusion of the regular season, their draw against the Bulldogs means that the second tiebreaker — points from the game against the highest-seeded team outside of the tie — will be used. If that team is Harvard, Penn will have the higher seed. But things get more complex if it's Brown in that spot, as the Quakers tied the Bears 0-0 in their matchup, and Yale's result against them next week is crucial.
If Brown beats the Bulldogs, Penn will get the tiebreaker. But if Yale's game ends in a draw, things will go to goal difference in conference play to break the stalemate. And in this case, the Bulldogs will end up with a higher seed, as their +3 goal difference exceeds Penn's +1.
That all might seem a bit complex. So here's a simple thing to remember: Penn still controls its own destiny. If the Quakers win against Princeton next Saturday, they'll end up with at least a share of the Ivy League title and the number one seed in the Ivy League tournament. If they do not, they leave their fate to chance.