With the spring semester already having begun at Dartmouth but around the corner for the rest of the Ancient Eight, The Crimson takes a look at the fall semester for each athletic program and the season that was in each major sport. Next up, the University of Pennsylvania Quakers.
Much like Princeton, Penn football had a poor start to the year with two consecutive non-conference losses before notching its first win in Hanover at the end of September. The team, which used a victory against Dartmouth to jumpstart a four game winning streak in 2011, lost two of the next three games (including a defeat against league cellar dweller Yale) before rattling off four wins to end the season, none by more than nine points. That included wins over Princeton (leading the league at the time) and Harvard (reigning league champion) in back-to-back weeks that put Penn atop the Ivy League for the third time in four seasons.
Two years after back-to-back titles, the Penn volleyball team slid to fourth in the Ancient Eight standings. After winning six of seven in late October, the team won only six of 16 contested sets in November, losing three of its last four—including two losses to teams ranked above them in the standings that dropped it from second to fourth to close the season. In a bright spot, Dani Sheperd and Emma White finished one-two in the conference in digs, combining for 1,028 on the year.
Through four tournaments, the Penn men’s golf team has struggled to maintain its performance of a year ago. The team as a whole is scoring five shots worse versus par despite having five golfers in the top 25. The loss of departed top-10 golfer Scott Williams, the second best golfer on the Quakers a year ago, has created a void that hasn’t yet been filled. Junior Max Marisco ranks third in the conference and has posted better scores than a year ago but the rest of the team hasn’t yet caught up.
The only team in the Ivy League which has seen its average round score go up between last season and this season, the Penn women’s golf team has struggled to replace 12th-ranked Tiffany Cheung. Cheung was the second best Quaker golfer last year and while sophomore Amanda Chin has improved by three strokes a round, the team hasn’t been as consistent as a year ago, when they finished fourth in the Ancient Eight.
For the fourth time in six seasons, the Penn Quakers entered the final weekend of the women’s soccer season with a chance to win the league outright with a victory. However, the team fell, 4-2, to the Princeton Tigers to drop them down to third in the final standings as the Tigers finished off an unblemished 7-0 perfect season. Three Penn players—seniors Erin Beck and Alex Daynecka as well as junior Kerry Scalora—were named first-team All-Ivy standards and the team earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America team Academic Award for the 12th time in 13 seasons (award is given to teams with an average GPA above 3.0).
After struggling for most of the year, in the season finale the Penn men’s soccer team defeated Harvard, 3-1, to climb out of the Ivy League cellar in its first Ancient Eight win of the season. Four members of the team took home All-Ivy honors with Travis Cantrell and Duke Lacroix notching second-team distinction Johny Dolezal and Stephen Baker garnering honorable mentions. After losing six straight to start the season, the team won both games it played at the Princeton Invitational en route to victories in three of its final ten games.
Penn continued its climb out of the Ivy League basement, improving its conference standing for the second straight year after finishing last in the conference in 2010. The Quakers finished fourth in the Ancient Eight and above .500 overall, winning three of four before a season-ending 7-0 loss to the Princeton Tigers. Sarah Hanson ranked tenth in the league in points but defensive struggles betrayed a Penn squad that gave up 51 goals, highest in the league.