Regardless of where Penn volleyball finishes in the Ivy League standings, coach Kerry Carr feels that if the Quakers beat every team at least once, they’ll have filed a successful season in the books.
“We have a chance to beat every single opponent in the Ivy League,” Carr said. “I don’t care what the overall standings say, but if we can beat every single team, that speaks for itself right there. And that’s our goal.”
Even undefeated Yale?
“It’ll be hard to catch Yale, but if we beat them, that says it all!” Carr said.
Debates about the validity of those sentiments aside, the Quakers (10-9, 4-4 Ivy) are on their way to achieving that goal. Coming off of an undefeated weekend in which they only dropped one set to Dartmouth and swept rival Princeton, the Red and Blue feel they’re right where they need to be.
“Last weekend against Princeton was probably the most focused we’ve been,” Carr said. “We definitely felt like the first time we played them we could have done better defensively. We had a great offensive night, so we just wanted to put it all together.”
Currently sitting in a three-way tie for third with Brown, the Quakers want to use tactics that worked last weekend to knock off fifth-place Cornell (7-11, 3-5) and Columbia (5-12, 3-5) this weekend at the Palestra.
“Last weekend the girls took it upon themselves to scout — they watched film, looked at stats, all that,” Carr said. “They just brought a ton of energy. This upcoming weekend we want to do a lot of preparing as well. I feel like Cornell and Columbia are stronger than Princeton this year, so we do have to continue adding to our game every week like we’ve been doing.”
And finally, the Red and Blue are getting healthy enough to take advantage of their momentum.
“Finally, no one’s injured, we’re completely healthy, and it’ll still be hard to figure us out for opponents,” Carr beamed. “We have a whole bunch of lineups that we’ve been using … At the beginning we had to play a lot of people due to injuries, but it showed us that everyone can do really good things out there. Teams can’t really prepare for us.”
Cornell coach Melissa Batie-Smoose knows how depleted the Quakers’ lineup has been at times this season, and she knows how it feels.
“Penn is kind of like our lineup this year,” Batie-Smoose said.
“Due to injuries and other things, there hasn’t been a set lineup and that’s been the case for us too. So we don’t have a particular player in mind.”
“We get second chances,” Carr explained. “We’re really lucky that we don’t only get to play these teams once. There’s a couple, four to be exact, that we want to get back and play tougher during the second go-around. The second cycle allows us to hit reset, see what we did the first time around and correct it.”
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