The Quakers have momentum on their side as they head into their final home weekend.
Friday night, the Penn volleyball team (12-9, 7-3 Ivy) will take on the conference-undefeated Bulldogs (14-5, 10-0) at the Palestra.
Fresh off a weekend of two sweeping Ivy victories against Harvard (8-13, 5-5) on Friday and Dartmouth (2-18, 1-9) on Saturday, Penn is ready to give Yale a run for its money.
In the last meeting between the two teams, the Bulldogs beat the Quakers in straight sets — the only time Penn was swept in Ivy play this season. Now, the Red and Blue are ready for a second chance against the league leaders.
“We have a new game plan that we’re trying to implement, that we’ve been practicing this whole week and that I’m excited about,” said senior Lauren Martin, who had seven kills for the Quakers in the last game against Yale. “We just have to trust the system and go at it.”
Freshman Alex Caldwell shared her teammate’s enthusiasm.
“We’ve been practicing really hard, so I think we have it for this coming weekend and I’m really excited,” she said.
In the team’s last match-up against Yale, Caldwell led Penn with eight kills, narrowly missing out on a second straight triple-double as she also contributed 13 assists and 12 digs to the cause.
In her rookie season, Caldwell has surprised opponents with her aggression.
“It’s an advantage that the other team hasn’t seen [Caldwell] before,” Martin said. “They haven’t seen her, how she’s progressed through the years, and it’s just really great to see how she’s progressing throughout this whole season.”
Caldwell appears to be following in the footsteps of Martin, who was Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2009.
“It’s really nice to have a great environment to work with,” Caldwell said. “Hopefully I’ll continue to improve over the next few years.”
And while Caldwell’s energy stems from excitement about the future of her college career, seniors like Martin are a bit more nostalgic about this weekend’s upcoming games.
“It’s going to be the last time for the seniors,” Martin said. “It’s going to be the last time for my friends and family to really get to see me play in the Palestra, so I’m really excited about that.”
With senior celebrations taking place before Saturday’s game against Brown, the Quakers have the chance to finish strong at home and keep the momentum on their side. In addition to last weekend’s back-to-back victories, Penn had an especially sweet 3-2 win over Princeton the week before.
“We’re still going off of that energy from Princeton,” Martin said. “So right now we’re just having fun and just enjoying the last few games we have together as a team.”