If Penn softball’s season could be analogized as a single game, it’s tied up in the bottom of the ninth, and the team has gotten a runner on base and moved her into scoring position.
But before they get their shot at glory, the Quakers have one more round of batting practice to take. Metaphorically, that is.
The Red and Blue (15-17) will travel to New Jersey to take on Monmouth today at 3 p.m. in their penultimate nonconference matchup of the season.
The Quakers are coming off of their second consecutive South Division series victory, most recently 3-1 over Princeton. They are sitting on a two-and-a-half game lead in their division.
This weekend, they have a four-game series against division-rival Columbia. If they are able to hold serve against the Lions, they will likely advance to their third consecutive Ivy League championship series.
But first, they need to take on Monmouth (14-17).
At three games under .500 and most recently coming off of a 6-5 walk-off loss to Quinnipiac, the Hawks have had an uneven season thus far.
Despite their apparent inconsistency, Monmouth has the personnel to give the Red and Blue a run for their money, most notably freshman lefty starting pitcher Sydney Underhill — who has started 22 of her team’s 33 games — and sophomore Jill Freese — who boasts a team-high .329 batting average.
The Quakers have also faced their share of ups and downs this season.
After starting off the season a mere 4-11 in its initial nonconference stretch, Penn has rallied in Ivy play to put itself in position to make a run at its second consecutive Ivy title.
The Quakers have relied heavily on junior Alexis Borden and freshman Alexis Sargent to carry the load on the mound throughout the season. Over the weekend, they accounted for all three of the Quakers’ wins against Princeton.
Penn has also found an emerging offensive star in freshman outfielder Leah Allen.
On Saturday, Allen blasted two home runs, bringing her total to 11 on the year and eclipsing the school single-season record of 10 in her first year in a Penn uniform.
While the Quakers will certainly take today’s matchup against Monmouth seriously, they definitely have long-term matters on their mind.
With a healthy division lead in hand and only one Ivy game — against Harvard — remaining after the weekend, the Quakers could clinch an Ivy Championship berth with a strong performance this weekend against Columbia.
Like any great player, the Quakers know their time will come to step up to the plate, but in the meantime, they will take things one swing at a time.
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