Ivy and national accolades on the line in volleyball's weekend road trip
Penn hopes to stay atop NCAA digs per set list, moves up in Ivies
November 9, 2012, 2:16 am·
It all comes to a head for the women’s volleyball team this weekend.
As Penn hits the road for a back-to-back in the Empire State, a chance for second place and just one loss in the second half of Ivy play hangs in the balance.
Friday, the Red and Blue (13-10, 8-4 Ivy) hit New York City to battle fourth-place Columbia (12-9, 7-5).
“We’ve watched film all week and we wanted to see what their tendencies were,” senior captain Tori Manix said. “We wanted to prepare our defense and offense around what their tendencies are so we can come out on top this weekend. We’ve also had short and concise practices which was nice.”
The Quakers swept the Lions on Oct. 6, 25-18, 25-21 and 25-22.
But assistant coach Seth Rochlin warns his team will still need a valiant effort to be victorious this weekend.
“We’re preparing hard to end the second half of Ivies 6-1 and get a good springboard into next year,” he said. “It’s key for us to have a strong finish here, and that’s what we’ve been prepping for all week.”
Saturday night, the Quakers will trek north to Ithaca, N.Y., to face sixth-place Cornell (7-16, 3-9), a team the Quakers also defeated in straight sets on Oct. 5, 25-21, 27-25 and 25-23.
The Red and Blue also have a chance to secure their position as the national leader in digs per set, while Dani Shepherd can stay atop the individual national rankings in the same category. Alex Caldwell and Ronnie Bither will also use the weekend to further build their cases for Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
“We are mainly looking at ending our season on a high note,” Manix said. “We would love to finish in second place, but we’re more focused on ending the season the best way we can.”
Princeton (12-10, 9-3), which currently sits in second, will face the same opponents as Penn over the weekend. Assuming the Quakers can take both matches, they will need Princeton to lose at least once to give them identical Ivy records.
“We’re probably the hardest pair of teams to play, Penn and Princeton together,” Manix said. “It plays to our advantage that [Princeton] beat down on a team the night before and then we get them the next night.”
Because Princeton defeated Penn, 3-2, the first time the teams met on Sept. 22 and Penn defeated Princeton, 3-2, on Oct. 19, the two teams would also be tied in sets for and against, resulting in a true tie for second place.
“We know what we need to do on our end — we need to win both games,” Rochlin said.
First serve is at 7 p.m. in New York, N.Y.