The women’s volleyball team feels good.
Coming off a weekend where the Quakers swept both Cornell and Columbia, the feeling is understandable.
“I think we have a lot of confidence, and that’ll benefit us,” coach Kerry Carr said.
Carr was referring not only to the decisive sweep, but also junior Dani Shepherd’s player of the week honors.
Penn (8-8, 3-2 Ivy) will use that momentum going into this weekend’s matches at Brown and Yale — the final two games in the first round-robin of Ivy play.
Carr was also pleased with changes the Quakers have implemented.
“In the new system that we’ve put in place, everyone is more aggressive,” she said. “There are a lot of good things that we had been working on, and it was encouraging to see them put it into play Friday and Saturday night.”
Penn hits the road Friday night to face a 1-4 Brown squad, which is currently tied for last in the Ivies. Immediately after the match, the Red and Blue will head to New Haven, Conn., to face undefeated Yale (5-0) in what promises to be a tough test.
However, Carr is also quick to reject notions that one opponent will be an easier match than the other.
“I think Brown’s record is misleading,” Carr said. “They’ve been right in every game, and a lot of them were four or five sets like ours against Harvard and Princeton.”
Numbers seem to tell a different story, though. Through the first five games of league play, Yale has dropped just two sets, compared to Brown’s 12. Yale boasts an overall 9-5 record compared to the 5-10 for Brown, and the Bulldogs have won six straight matches.
“There’s a lot of parity in this league,” Carr said. “It might seem easier to play a team that’s lower in the standings, but injuries can change levels of competition from week to week.”
One thing is certain though. A lapse in attention either night could spell doom for the improving Quakers.
“For everyone in this league, you have to play your best in order to beat them,” Carr said. “I don’t see a ton of difference in the level between Brown and Yale. Yale is a little stronger, but we are going to have to play our best both nights regardless.”
Action kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. in Providence, R.I.
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