Several Penn teams involved in the GLSEN Project

In this in-depth piece on the culture of coming out for LGBT Penn athletes, I examine what Penn Athletics has and hasn't done for the Quakers' LGBT athletic community.

But five varsity programs have stepped up for that community with the Team Respect Pledge put forth by the GLSEN Sports Project, an education and advocacy program focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. Those Penn programs are volleyball, women's tennis, men's tennis, women's soccer and men's soccer.

And the Team Respect Pledge reads as follows:

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Weekend Wrap: On the road at Princeton

While football may have had the most dramatic finish in Princeton over the weekend, it was not the only Penn squad to take on the Tigers. Check Weekend Wrap for a review of the Quakers' performances in other arenas, including a few squads that finished their seasons against Princeton.

Field Hockey
Even in a strong year for Penn field hockey, the Red and Blue were not likely to fair well against No. 2 Princeton. The Tigers outscored their Ivy opponents 45-1 on the year and recorded six league wins by a margin of five goals or more. With this in mind, Quakers’ 7-0 defeat should not come as a surprise to anyone. Princeton’s victory secured its eighth consecutive league title.

That said, Penn (9-8, 3-4 Ivy) can certainly celebrate finishing above .500 for the first time since 2006 — one of several indications that this program is on the rise.

Men's Soccer
Despite holding off the Tigers for the first half an hour of play, the Penn men’s soccer team collapsed once again in a 3-0 loss at Princeton. With a last-place finish on the horizon, the Quakers (2-13, 0-6 Ivy) should start the rebuilding process now and start thinking about how the team can change its fortunes for next season.

Women's Soccer
As Penn women’s soccer coach Darren Ambrose put it, “Speed kills.” The Quakers found this out in a big way this weekend against Princeton, as they fell to the Tigers, 4-2, on the road. Princeton’s Jen Hoy demonstrated why she deserves the Ivy League Player of the Year award, using her speed to create breakaways on multiple occasions, despite double and triple-teams by Penn’s defense. When the Quakers swarmed her, Hoy fed to Lauren Lazo, who recorded a hat trick on the evening.

To their credit, the Red and Blue (9-6-1, 5-2 Ivy) did not go down without a fight. Late in the second half, Clara Midgley added two goals in nine minutes to make the game 3-2. However, the Tigers ultimately added one more score and walked away with a win as well as the league championship.

Volleyball
With Yale steamrolling the Ivy standings, it’s a race to second place for Penn volleyball. Despite knotting the match at 1-1 at one point, the squad failed to slow down the Bulldogs (16-5, 12-0 Ivy) and lost by a final of 3-1 Friday night at the Palestra. However, the Quakers (13-10, 8-4) turned around Saturday to defeat Brown, 3-1, on Senior Night. The Red and Blue currently sit at third in the Ivy League behind Yale and Princeton (12-10, 9-3) with two matches remaining.

W. Soccer: Fate to be pulled out of a hat?

With just two weeks remaining in the Ivy League women's soccer schedule, three teams are in the hunt for an Ivy title, which has stimulated discussion about how a potential three-way tie between the top teams for first place might shake out. Of course, not only is an Ivy League championship on the line, but also an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

So here's the scenario: if Dartmouth and Penn win out, including the Quakers taking out Princeton on the road on Nov. 3, and Princeton doesn't get upset by Cornell this weekend, then all three teams would finish the season 6-1. Looking at head-to-head wins can't be used to break the tie, since Princeton beat Dartmouth, Dartmouth beat Penn and Penn will have defeated Princeton.

What, then, will decide the fate of the Ivy title and the tourney bid? Well, the championship will simply be shared by all three teams. There is some historical precedence for this — in fact, the same three teams shared the title in 2001, oddly enough.

The NCAA tournament bid, however, is an entirely different story. After a season of hard fought matches and competitive games, the Ivy League would decide which team represents the conference in the NCAA tournament by, drumroll please, pulling a team's name out of a hat.

No, that is not a joke. According to Trevor Rutledge-Leverenz, a representative from the Ivy League, Executive Director Robin Harris would draw a team's name out of a hat to determine which squad receives the tournament bid.

If it's any consolation (though I'm not sure it would be to the other two teams), Rutledge-Leverenz added that the name-drawing would be broadcasted live online.

Let us know what you think about the Ivy League's tie-breaking process in the comments below. We will provide updates on this story as they come in.

Weekend Wrap: Volleyball shocks Princeton on the road and more

We all know you've had ample football coverage this weekend, but what about the members of the Red and Blue playing at venues other than the Yale Bowl? For recaps of Penn's other squads, look no further than this week's edition of "Weekend Wrap."

Volleyball
The volleyball team began the second half of its conference schedule with a dramatic victory over Princeton on the road, battling back from two sets down to win, 3-2. While Penn (10-9, 5-3 Ivy) will need the Tigers and the Bulldogs to lose some matches to give it a chance at an Ivy title, this weekend’s performance could be a major turning point for this relatively young squad.

Men's Soccer
Playing on the road, the Quakers’ struggles continued, and the team lost to a lackluster Yale squad, 2-1. Without an Ivy win to its name, this Red and Blue team is hard pressed to find a silver lining to this season’s performance. That said, Penn (2-11, 0-4) could make some noise in the Ivy League by upsetting first-place Brown next weekend.

Women's Soccer
Though this team has walked on a knife’s edge at times this season, the Penn women’s soccer squad has a legitimate shot at an Ivy title, and the team made progress toward that goal by defeating Yale, 2-0, in New Haven. It was just the third road victory for the Quakers (8-5-1, 4-1) against the Bulldogs in program history, and the first time in four games that the Red and Blue have put up multiple goals in a game. These are auspicious signs for the team as it enters its final two matches of the season, including a hotly anticipated showdown with league-leading Princeton on Nov. 3.

Field Hockey
A 3-2 victory on the road over Yale keeps Penn field hockey on pace to improve upon last year’s 2-5 Ivy League record, not to mention out of last place. The game ball (is that a thing in field hockey?) undoubtedly goes to junior captain Julie Tahan, who assisted two scores before adding the game-winner herself. The following day, the Quakers (7-7, 2-3) dropped a contest against Fairfield, 4-2. While coaches and players will give you a line about why momentum’s important, the fact of the matter is that the Ivy slate is what counts, so if you’re going to split for the weekend, the Red and Blue did it right.

Looking ahead: A potential Ivy title game

via PennAthletics.com

Not that the Penn-Princeton rivalry has been lacking in intensity, but this year’s women’s soccer tilt between the two schools appears like it will carry extra weight.

Penn and Princeton currently sit atop the Ivy standings at 3-0. If both teams maintain their level of play and win out, when they meet in the season finale on Nov. 3 at Princeton, it will effectively become an Ivy League championship game. Considering that last season’s 14-2-1 Penn team missed out on an at-large bid, winning the conference could be their only ticket to the NCAA tournament.

The Quakers have a relatively easy path to the finale with games remaining against Brown and Yale — both which are winless in Ivy play. The only potential roadblock is this weekend’s game at Dartmouth (see preview). But with wins at Ithaca and as far away as Sacramento, the Quakers have proved thus far that they can travel well.

A potential Penn-Princeton game provides an extremely intriguing matchup on paper. Princeton has the strongest offense in the conference, led by forward Jen Hoy’s 14 goals. Penn, meanwhile, boasts the league’s stoutest defense, conceding only 0.81 goals per game. One huge advantage in the Tigers favor will be home field. The Quakers have not won there since 2003.

With all the potential storylines surrounding a Penn-Princeton finale, we can only hope the two teams keep up their outstanding play.

— Tim Ghosh

30 Seconds With … Erin Mikolai

Women’s soccer freshman midfielder Erin Mikolai has made an instant impact in her first year, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors twice and currently ranking second on the teams in points. After practice last week, Mikolai met with me at Penn Park for a 30-second review of her life as a freshman athlete and much more.

Favorite celebrity?
Chris Brown.  Just because he’s so good looking. He’s a really good singer too.

Favorite soccer player?
[Lionel] Messi. His craftwork on the ball is just tremendous and his work off the ball is ridiculous.

Worst freshman moment?
Consequences if you do something wrong.  We have to run, we have to carry all the balls, freshman stuff.

Best singer on the team?
[Junior] Laura Oliver. Amazing.

Worst singer on the team?
[Freshman] Shannon [Hennessy].

Weirdest thing about Penn?
The sculptures around campus. Like the Button! I don’t get it.

How steady is Max Kurtzman in net? Exactly the same as last year

This weekend’s 1-0 loss to Columbia notwithstanding, the disappointing start to the season for men’s soccer can be traced back to one number: 65.

Last year, in 14 games of action, then-freshman goalie Max Kurtzman made 41 saves out of 58 shots to tout a .707 save percentage. Recall, even with Kurtzman giving up only 1.17 goals per game, the Quakers still finished 6th in the Ivy race.

While much focus has been spent on the Quakers’ inability to put the ball into the net consistently, it has been their defense that has kept them from being able to work with a lead much at all this season.

Through eight games, Kurtzman has faced 65 save opportunities, making 46 of them. Kurtzman has allowed goals at essentially the same exact rate, .708, this season — but it's come in only the eight contests in which he's appeared — and his defense hasn’t provided much support.

At the beginning of the season, people questioned how this team would rebound following the losses of Jake Levin and Thomas Brandt, who served as the crux down the middle upon which the Quakers often stood on balls in the air, as well as on set pieces. The good news for the Quakers is they’ve only played two Ivy League contests, and they’ve been in both until the end. If the young defensive unit is able to gel, they have a chance to get back into the race.

Penn sweeps Philly Soccer 6 Awards

It was a great night to be a part of the Penn men's soccer team.

At the annual Philadelphia Soccer Six Awards Banquet held at the University City Sheraton, the Quakers came away with a trio of prizes.

The first went to senior midfielder Christian Barreiro who was named "Chris Jones" Player of the Year. Recently drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the MLS Supplemental Draft, the Maryland native led the team with goals and assists this year with seven apiece. He leaves Penn ranked in the top-5 in scoring in school history and a two-time first team All-Ivy standout.

But Barreiro wasn't the only one with a great night. Duke Lacroix was named a co-"William 'Bill' Wilkinson" Freshman of the Year. Lacroix was twice named Ivy League Rookie of the Week and was tied for second on the team with five goals.

Lastly, coach Rudy Fuller captured "Bill Harris" Coach of the Year for the seventh time in his career.

 

Brandt to Union, Barreiro to Red Bulls in MLS Supplemental Draft

For the first time ever, two Penn soccer players were chosen in the MLS Supplemental Draft. Senior defender Thomas Brandt was selected by the Philadelphia Union with the 13th overall pick and senior attacking midfielder Christian Barreiro was chosen by the New York Red Bulls with the 50th pick.

Brandt, who was a two-year captain and two-time All-Ivy selection, anchored the Quakers back line. Nominated for the preseason watch list for the Hermann award for the top individual in college soccer, Brandt has scored 10 goals the past two years including a hat trick in his collegiate finale against Harvard.

In an odd twist, Brandt will join Princeton's Antoine Hoppenot at PPL Park. The pair battled for three years with Brandt often marking the 2010 Ivy player of the Year.

Another Penn soccer player taken in the draft today was senior Christian Barreiro. The midfielder, who like Brandt was a two-time first team All-Ivy player, was invited to MLS Combine earlier this month and was the Red Bulls second pick in the Supplemental Draft. If he makes a senior appearance, he would become the second Penn player to suit up for New York after former Penn keeper Christian Barreiro.

Barreiro not selected in SuperDraft, will wait for Supplemental Draft

Christian Barreiro doesn't have a job. Not yet.

The senior wasn't selected in today's MLS SuperDraft, but that doesn't mean he couldn't be playing in a professional stadium in the near future. On Monday the MLS will hold its Supplemental Draft, which offers players another opportunity to sign with MLS developmental rosters and reserve teams.

The Supplemental Draft will feature four rounds with 19 picks in each round. Princeton forward Antoine Hoppenot, who was also invited to the combine, was not drafted either.

The only Ivy player to be drafted was 2011 Ivy Player of the Year Lucky Mkosana. The Dartmouth forward was selected in the second round with the 23d pick overall by the Chicago Fire.