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Photo: Arabella Uhry

Five weeks down, five to go.

On Friday, Penn volleyball will travel to New York City to face off against Columbia, then hitting the road again to play against Cornell in Ithaca the following day. Preparing to play their final stretch of away matches, the Red and Blue look to gain valuable wins over the course of the weekend.

The Quakers are currently tied for fourth with Cornell (7-7, 2-3 Ivy) in the Ivy League. Penn volleyball had an unfortunate start to last weekend against Harvard, but was able to rebound with a crucial win against Dartmouth. Senior captain Sydney Morton, who was named Honorable-Mention All-Ivy and ranked fifth in the Ivy League in assists per set (8.16) last season, remains optimistic that the team will be able to capitalize on their recent success on the road.

“These are our last few games before the next round of Ivies," Morton explained. "We’ve definitely grown a lot since the beginning of Ivy season. We’re excited about the next two games and we’re pretty confident.”

With confidence in mind, the Quakers should be able to find success at Columbia (5-9, 0-5), as the Lions have yet to win a game against their Ivy League counterparts. 

“Despite Columbia’s record, I still think they are a very good team, and we need to play great defense and block,” coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley noted of the Quakers’ competition. 

The matchup against Cornell might prove to be more difficult for the Quakers, as both teams head into Saturday with identical Ivy League records. However, Cornell comes off of a loss to Dartmouth (6-8, 2-3), a team which the Quakers were able beat earlier in the season. Penn is hoping to capitalize on this Cornell loss in order to find themselves victorious in the matchup.

In the Dartmouth game this past weekend, Penn excelled on the court. Freshman Parker Jones, an All-Ivy Honorable Mention outside hitter, had a career high of 22 kills against Dartmouth and showed her best game efficiency wise, hitting .250, which is her best mark since the team’s home win against Siena. 

Fellow freshman Raven Sulaimon also showed her prowess on the court, recording double-digit kills. Both Jones and Sulaimon were the only Quakers in the Dartmouth game to record double-digit kills. Morton expressed how the contribution of the freshmen has greatly benefitted the team.

“Just having two freshman completely stepping up… they have been killing it lately. I am so proud of them. They have been working really hard,” the veteran Morton said.

Morton, recording a team high of 13 digs, also comes off of an impressive game against Dartmouth, contributing to the success of the defense.

Moving into this weekend, Schumacher-Cawley hopes to emphasize the team’s defense in order to secure some victories for the Red and Blue.

“To go 2-0 this weekend, that’s one of our goals," she said. "I think one of our goals has also been to just get better at every opportunity. I think they have been working hard and improving. It would be nice to see this transfer over into getting some Ws.”

The Quakers are eager to end their Ivy League matchups on the road this weekend on a high note and use that momentum during the last half of the season at home.

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