Even with a number of new teams on their schedule, the Quakers seem to be more focused on practice.
Yes, not their 20 remaining games, but practice.
“We had a good practice week, and I think we’re ready to rise to the level of these teams,” senior libero Madison Wojciechowski said.
Those teams are the four competitors the Quakers will face over the next two days in southern California — Cal State Fullerton, No. 13 UCLA, Liberty and West Virginia.
Penn hopes to raise its level of play, as these will be some of the toughest opponents the Quakers will play all season.
“We know we’re going to be facing some big teams that are tough competition,” said senior setter Megan Tryon.
“We’ve been working a lot on stuff that we were weak in last weekend to try and match up with them well and to prepare for them.”
After last season’s stellar play, the Quakers brass have looked to add more challenging nonconference matches to the schedule — something that, if history holds, doesn’t appear to be favorable for the Quakers.
Last season, Penn lost only six matches during the course of the season, all of which came against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 100 with the exception of a losses against Harvard (No 175) and Lamar (No. 173). This season, the team has already lost three out of six matches.
However, as discouraging as these statistics may seem, coach Kerry Carr makes it clear that these Quakers are “pretty resilient” and are eager to take on this challenge as preparation for the Ivy season.
“I think that we have a strong mental team with strong senior leaders,” said Carr. “The whole reason that we scheduled tough is that we wanted to see just how much better we can get.”
Carr isn’t alone in sharing these sentiments.
“Madison and I requested a tougher schedule because we get better when we play tougher teams,” said senior outside hitter Julia Swanson. “We wanted to play tougher teams.”
“I think this is really going to prepare us for Ivies,” Tryon said. “It’ll definitely mentally prepare us for the Ivies.”
Thus, whether they pad the win column or not, it seems that the Quakers are up for the challenge and looking to grow and improve from the experience on the West Coast.
“We had a great practice that was really focused and intense, and I think this is exactly what they need to get better,” said Carr.
Yes, not just a game. They’re talking about practice.
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