If you ask the Penn volleyball team, it will say that it’s in the midst of a good season.
But the Quakers (6-6) have not been at 100 percent for the majority of the year, and it is always hard for a team plagued with injuries to fire on all cylinders.
The Red and Blue have been without two of their floor leaders for most of the season. Middle blocker Susan Stuecheli had been out after suffering a knee injury in an early-season matchup with Delaware until she made her return to the court against Princeton last week. In addition, senior libero Dani Shepherd missed much of Penn’s nonconference slate with a concussion early on.
So Coach Kerry Carr had to adjust after losing two of her three captains early in the season.
“We had a couple injuries so we didn’t have the full team back until basically this upcoming weekend. I feel like our best is still yet to come,” Carr said.
With each game this season, it seems as though something has been missing for the Quakers. The team is either astounding offensively or defensively, but have yet to sync up the two in a game. Though the team is very vocal during play, it seems to lack a true defensive or offensive leader.
“[In the past], we either have [Susan] or we have Dani — our strong offensive leader up front or our libero on the back — and we haven’t had them on the court at the same time since Delaware,” Carr said. “That will be a huge boost to everyone, getting them back this weekend.”
And despite all the injuries, the team couldn’t be happier with the results, as players have stepped up into Shepherd and Stuecheli’s roles to give the Red and Blue a sigh of relief.
“You never expect injuries to happen, but when they do some people have to step up to the plate,” Jasmine DeSilva said. “Alexis Genske stepped up to libero and it was no different with her out there, you just get back at it and do the same things we were doing before anyone was hurt.
“I’ve been really proud of our team for dealing with the number of injuries we have.”
Other players have gone down on the season, including Arielle Winfield — who has been playing through a knee injury — and Elizabeth Horner, who is out indefinitely with a concussion.
With the Quakers all at 100 percent now, their best is still yet to come.
“Our goal is to win an Ivy League championship,” Carr said. “I feel like this is the closest team to the 2009 Ivy League championship team, just by the chemistry on and off the court. When they play on game day it really shows.”
If that statement holds true, the rest of the Ivy League has something to worry about.
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