When you’re the two-time defending Ivy League champions, you have to learn to adjust on the fly.
That’s just what the Penn volleyball team will try to do after graduating three All-Ivy players.
“Instead of using it as an excuse, I think [the team’s inexperience] will work for us. We still don’t have a set starting lineup, so we’ll be tough to scout. We can use that as versatility instead of inconsistency, until we figure out the best unit who can play together.”
Without a doubt, two players who will lead that starting lineup will be juniors Lauren Martin and Amanda Pacheco, who both finished second team All-Ivy last season.
“They’re the obvious two people who will make an immediate impact for this team,” Carr said.
Meanwhile, sophomore libero Dani Shepherd, who notched a school-record 41 digs against Alabama, has probably cemented her spot as the replacement for Penn’s all-time leader in digs, Madison Wojciechowski, who graduated last season.
All three standouts will need to be in top form for the team to be successful this weekend, when the Quakers (2-4) host Rhode Island (5-4), UMBC (8-4) and William & Mary (4-4) for the Crown Plaza Philadelphia West Penn tournament.
The tourney will be the final tune-up before the team officially begins it quest to three-peat as Ivy champions, with conference play commencing next Friday at rival Princeton.
However, the Quakers know that they must face the task at hand before looking to the future.
“It’s this year, this game and this weekend … We’re not looking past this weekend, but we do know the end goal is to be in top form for Ivy play next Friday,” coach Kerry Carr said.
This weekend will be a valuable gauge of where the team is in relation to that goal, and Carr feels confident.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend. These teams are right at our level.”
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