Some say numbers never lie, but Penn volleyball may disagree.
The Quakers (3-7) will look to start off Ivy League play with a bang against rival Princeton as they play their first of a six-game home stretch.
Though their record may not reflect it, the Quakers’ morale is higher than ever as they get their shot at an Ivy title run.
“We’ve played a lot of really tough teams — that other Ivy schools didn’t get a chance to play — this season,” senior Kendall Turner said. “That’ll really help us. We have a few L’s on our record, but the level was higher. I think if we can take that level and apply it to Ivy season, we’ll do really well.”
The Quakers have had the opportunity to play and gain experience against NCAA-ranked teams in No. 1 Stanford and No. 20 Duke. This experience will prove to be invaluable.
Penn’s first chance to showcase this experience will be against a Princeton squad (5-5) coming off of a tough weekend. However, like every Ivy squad, the Tigers should not be taken lightly.
“There’s a parity within the league. Anyone on any given day can beat each other,” coach Kerry Carr said. “Last year was a little different, but this year I’d say it’s pretty even across the board. You just never know.”
The Quakers know that their record up to this point —much like the rest of the Ivy League — means nothing, as it is in no way indicative of how a team will do against other Ivy League foes.
As is the case with all Ivy foes, the victor is usually the one who can keep their opponents guessing on what they will do. Penn is ready to open up their bag of tricks; unfortunately for Princeton, they will be the first to experience them.
“We’ve added new offensive strategies,” Carr said. “This match will have some surprises from what our tape has shown so far.”
Along with their new plan of attack, the Red and Blue will look to add consistency to their play.
Penn has shown flashes of dominance this season. This weekend, look for the Quakers to turn that flash into fire.
“We have really great moments,” Turner said. “If we can make those moments last the entire match, then we’re going to be unstoppable. I think our home stretch will help a lot with that.”
Penn will also look to their bench for support, as they are widely considered the loudest bench in the Ivy League.
“The bench is different people all the time this year,” Carr said. “Our team’s mentality is: ‘Hey , if I’m not on the court, I’m going to contribute in every way I can.’
The deciding factor in this Friday’s game and their remaining Ivy run may be the Quakers’ depth. All seven Penn freshmen have already seen action this season.
With their typically rowdy bench and improved consistency across the board, the Quakers hope to win the first of what should be many in their quest for an Ivy League title.
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