As the Lions (6-4-0) continue Ivy League play on Friday night against Penn (6-4-0) and then take on New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT )(2-8-3) on Sunday, their best bet at a strong offense will be their defense, anchored by sophomore goalkeeper and Ivy League Player of the Week Grace Redmon.
Lions’ head coach Kevin McCarthy noted Redmon’s presence between the posts as an integral component in the Light Blue’s five shutouts this season, two of which came against Ivy League opponents. “This is Grace’s first year starting, and there is a lot that comes with the responsibility. Sometimes a lesser person doesn’t have the character or the strength of conviction and commitment to her team like Grace does,” McCarthy said.
The Lions will certainly need to be on their defensive A-game against Penn, which finished second in last year’s Ivy League standings. The Quakers are 2-0 in the conference so far this season, with wins over Cornell and the reigning Ivy champion Harvard. Penn’s trademark this season has been a strong attack, thanks to several players in their lineup. Five Quakers have tallied two or more goals so far this season, and a total of eight players on the roster have scored at least one. Freshman midfielder Erin Mikolai leads the pack with three goals.
Redmond was confident in the Lions’ ability to keep their shutout streak in the Ivy League against Penn this weekend.
“We’ve been playing very well when it comes to crunch time like that,” she said. “If we continue to communicate well and work well together, it should not be a problem to continue that streak.”
“We have had some success in going down to Penn in the last few years and playing well and getting results,” McCarthy said. “We certainly are confident that we will be able to do it again.
When we’re playing well, we’re a pretty difficult team to break down, so we’ll put our emphasis on our quality of play without the ball.”
While the Lions have spent this week preparing for their conference matchup against Penn, the team will also be ready for NJIT on Sunday. “Obviously we have been focusing on the conference game,” Redmon said. “But we also do know that we have another game 48 hours after that. And we are all mentally prepared and focused to go out and play right afterwards-regardless of the result against Penn—to hopefully get another shutout and another win.”
The Lions will travel to Penn to take on the Quakers at 7 p.m. on Friday night before travelling to face NJIT on Sunday at 7 p.m.