Penn volleyball season is heating up.
The Quakers will look to bounce back from last week’s five-set home loss against Princeton as they face Dartmouth and Harvard this week. Penn (5-8, 0-1 Ivy) hosts Dartmouth (6-5, 0-1) on Friday and Harvard (3-7, 1-0) on Saturday.
The match against Princeton marked the start of an important stretch of conference games for the Quakers. Penn will look to take advantage of home court to win its first conference games of the year. The team will rely on its experience playing many non-conference games thus far, but will attempt to turn up the level of intensity.
Princeton (7-3, 1-0) is highly regarded as a talented and well-built team this year. Therefore, competing with and nearly defeating the Tigers was a huge confidence booster for the Quakers.
“We went toe-to-toe with them and beat them pretty soundly in one set, so we know what we are capable of and know how to get better,” coach Kerry Carr said of the loss.
Carr was impressed by the team’s ability to move forward and dedicate itself to improving.
“It was such a great Monday practice, which doesn’t always happen after a loss,” the 19th-year coach said.
The players seem equally as optimistic as Carr about learning from the Princeton match and improving as a team.
“Everyone was super excited to get back into the gym and work harder,” junior captain and setter Sydney Morton said.
With a team lacking any seniors, Morton has been leading the team on and off the court.
“Something good about this team is that we are young, so we all have this optimistic approach to the game. We have open minds; we are not afraid to take chances,” she added.
Carr went on to express admiration and confidence in her junior leaders, including Morton and her co-captain, junior middle blocker Kendall Covington, for stepping up this year.
It will be a crucial weekend for the Quakers, as Ivy League play continues its early stages.
Harvard and Dartmouth played each other in their respective Ivy League openers earlier this week. The Crimson dominated the match, defeating the Big Green in straight sets.
As for Penn, the team will use its experiences against Dartmouth and Harvard to prepare for the upcoming matchups. Last year, Penn beat Dartmouth in both of the teams’ contests and will look to continue the success. This year, Dartmouth started off well in its first two tournaments but struggled during the West Virginia Invitational, losing all three matches, before the loss to Harvard.
On the other hand, Harvard defeated the Quakers in both matchups last year. The Quakers will be taking it one match at a time, focusing on Dartmouth in practice for much of the week. But, one cannot help but look forward to what should be a very telling match against Harvard, last year’s Ivy League Champions.
“For Harvard we kind of have something to prove, because we lost to them in 3 sets last year,” sophomore outside hitter Courtney Quinn said.
Without a doubt, it will be an exciting weekend for Penn volleyball, especially when it comes to the team’s defense of its home court.
“Playing at home is a great advantage,” Carr said. “There’s nothing like playing in the Palestra.”
So, as Ivy League competition continues, the Quakers seem confident and ready for the challenge.
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