Penn volleyball heads into another Ivy weekend after two big victories over conference rivals.
The Quakers (10-12, 5-5 Ivy) will travel to both Brown and Yale this coming weekend and are looking to keep their two-game winning streak going.
“We are pretty confident going into this weekend,” junior captain Kendall Covington said. “After the first round of Ivies every team improves so we are going in with clear heads and clear minds.”
As the squad heads into these two critical matches, keeping the team culture alive is extremely important.
“I’m trying to get everyone to stay as energetic as possible. I’m a very vocal captain and strive for positivity,” Covington added.
The momentum gained from a very successful weekend against Ivy foes Harvard and Dartmouth could prove to be critical for the Quakers as they continue through this second round of Ivy matches.
“This past weekend is going to give us a lot of momentum for this upcoming weekend,” sophomore outside hitter Courtney Quinn said. “Harvard was tied with us so it was a big up move for us to jump ahead in the rankings.”
Not only were these two big conference wins, but they also have shown that the Quakers are a dominant force in the league when they are at their best.
“We’re excited for the next two weekends because we have something to prove,” Quinn continued. “It is important to have that confidence that we can win fifth [sets] if it comes down to it,” she added, pointing to Penn’s five-set victory over the Big Green on Saturday.
As the team looks forward to these matches against Brown (4-16, 2-8) and Yale (15-4, 8-2), the Quakers are keeping their own goals in mind: to dominate two Ivy squads that will be very determined in their own right. The Bears are looking to finish with a record approaching respectability, while the Bulldogs likely must win out to keep their Ivy title hopes alive.
Of course, the Quakers lost to the Bulldogs in their last matchup. But rather than seeing this as a cause for pessimism, the team is using this as fuel to dig deep and beat Yale the second time around.
“One of our goals going into this half of the season was to beat all the teams we lost to, so we have a strong mindset going into this game,” Quinn said.
And although the team defeated the Bears 3-0 in the first round of conference play, the Red and Blue know they can not overlook their opposition.
“Brown is a very scrappy team which we are not used to as much, so we have to be scrappy with them and outplay them,” Covington said.
“From the start of Monday we’ve been playing hard and really preparing for these matches,” Quinn continued.
With the Quakers currently sitting at fourth in the conference, Covington is setting goals for her squad as they enter into these next two conference matchups.
“One of our main goals is to finish top three in Ivies,” she said. “But one of our main goals to lead to that goal is to come out in the second set [of each game] on fire. The second set is what it is really about.”
As Covington said, consistency is key here for the Quakers. Once they win the first set, it is important to keep with the game plan and stay composed.
“It is important to carry it [momentum] through the rest of the match,” Covington continues.
The Bears currently sit at seventh in the league while Yale rests much higher in second, but the Quakers are expecting both matches to be close battles as they strive to beat both opponents in their second meetings.
However, the squad is on a roll and is eager to take on these Ivy foes. As far as the Quakers are concerned, nothing can stop them now.
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