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Crucial Ivy Game Saturday at No. 4 Penn

Fielding Kidd. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Fielding Kidd. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Seek to Even League W-L Record

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale gets its chance to knock off the four-time reigning Ivy League champions, No. 4 Penn, Saturday in Philadelphia. The Bulldogs gave the Quakers a challenge last season in New Haven before falling 7-5. Yale was one of just four teams to hold Penn to seven or fewer goals.

Yale (1-4, 0-1 Ivy League) is coming off its first win of the season, 11-8 over Marist this past Saturday at Reese Stadium. Four goals from sophomore midfielder Devon Rhodes (E. Northport, N.Y.) and three goals from junior attacker Caroline Crow (Davidsonville, Md.) led the offense, while three ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers from senior defender Fielding Kidd (Atlanta, Ga.), Yale's captain, led the Bulldog defense.

In addition to scoring a season-high 11 goals against the Red Foxes, the Bulldogs also had a season-high 26 shots and a season-best .833 performance on clears (15 for 18). It was also the first game this season in which Yale had fewer turnovers than its opponent.

With one loss in league play already, 9-8 to Dartmouth Mar. 5, the Bulldogs need a win Saturday to start climbing up the Ivy League standings. Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton all won their Ivy League openers, but the other five teams in the league all have at least one loss. The top four teams make the Ivy League Tournament at the end of the season and will play for the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Yale last went to the tournament in 2007, when the Bulldogs were selected for an at-large berth after finishing second to Penn.

The Bulldogs have a whole week to get ready for the Quakers, who are coming off a 9-6 win Wednesday at Rutgers. Penn (5-0, 1-0 Ivy League) has won 30 Ivy League games in a row but received a close call in its last Ancient Eight game, a 9-8 win at Harvard in which attacker Bridget Waclawik scored the game-winner with 17 seconds left. The string of 30 league wins in a row is the second-longest streak in Ivy history, trailing only Harvard's 36-game run from 1987 to 1993.

The Quakers continue to thrive on defense, led by goalkeeper Emily Leitner in her first season as starter. She has already claimed two Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week awards and leads the Ancient Eight in goals-against average (6.80). Her .500 save percentage trails only Dartmouth's Kristen Giovanniello (.541) among league keepers.

Penn's efficient offense has committed a league-low 8.6 turnovers per game while placing second in the league in shooting percentage (48 goals on 104 shots). Attacker Giulia Giordano, a second team all-region and All-Ivy League pick last year, leads the team in goals with nine and caused turnovers with seven. Midfielder Maddie Poplawski has a team-best nine ground balls and is tied for the team lead in draw controls with 10. 

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity