The Penn volleyball team looks to continue its march to a second consecutive Ivy League championship when it hits the road this weekend on to take on Brown and Yale.
The Quakers (10-9, 6-1 Ivy) are tied with Princeton at the top of the Ancient Eight. With a matchup between the two teams looming at the close of the regular season, the Quakers can clinch a title by winning out.
Coach Kerry Carr said that another Ivy title is the team’s ultimate goal, but the Red and Blue are focused on the game at hand when on the court when on the hardwood.
Such a mentality will be especially important this weekend as the Quakers play two very different teams — last-place Brown (7-13, 1-7) on Friday, and Yale (12-7, 6-2) on Saturday.
“In my past three years, Brown has really showed themselves as a team you don’t want to overlook because everybody has the tendency to do that,” senior outside hitter Julia Swanson said,
“Almost every year that we’ve played Brown at Brown, we’ve struggled. And I really hope we can take that and remember those times because they are a really scrappy, athletic team,” she added.
Penn dispatched Brown and Yale earlier this season in four sets each, but Swanson is wary of entering the games overconfident.
“I think that we don’t play very well when we are defending something. And now that we’re tied for first, I hope that we are able to stay relaxed and not get really uptight,” she said.
According to senior middle blocker Britt Danneman, “It’s great when we can play a team twice, so the second time around we can learn what they do. It’s more fun the second time to try and play a team that you know.”
Coach Carr pointed out that both teams outblocked Penn in their previous matches and have improved over the course of the season.
She also said that Brown and Yale each thrive off gaining momentum, and she would like to use her timeouts effectively this weekend.
In practice this week, the Quakers have been preparing for Brown and Yale’s unique 6-2 offensive formation, Swanson said.
Danneman said the team has also been working on the little things to make sure the team is ready to go for the weekend’s contests.
After a sluggish start to the season, the team is currently riding a six-match winning streak, and Coach Carr characterized her team as “confident, not cocky.”
She pointed to the squad’s loss to Princeton to open conference play as an example of Penn’s awareness of its vulnerability.
But the winning streak has shown that the Quakers can win in five sets — or in three.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.