Penn volleyball spikes again.
Ready for another busy weekend at the Palestra, Penn volleyball is set to play its penultimate home doubleheader against Brown on Friday night and Yale on Saturday.
Tied for fifth with Dartmouth in the Ivy League, the Red and Blue (8-9, 3-5 Ivy) will look to overcome a difficult loss to Princeton last week. Hoping to capitalize on the Tigers’ recent loss to Yale (13-4, 7-1), the Quakers will hope to recover from their 20 errors against Princeton by the time the Bulldogs enter the Palestra.
The team’s next four matches will be played at the Palestra, which will hopefully allow the Quakers to find a comfortable rhythm. Freshman outside hitter Raven Sulaimon noted how the team is looking to improve its consistency on the whole.
“I think one thing we can work on is consistency itself. There are a lot times we have great rallies, but I see that sometimes, as a team, we definitely overthink things… I think that we’re our best when we just don’t think and just play,” Sulaimon noted.
Sulaimon hopes to simplify her game by staying focused and playing aggressively with her teammates. With her first career start during the Princeton game, Sulaimon has been one of the most productive outside hitters over the course of the past five games. Her 11 kills against the Tigers helped the Quakers substantially.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Sulaimon has been able to take advantage of the guidance of older Houstonians like junior Courtney Quinn and senior Kendall Covington.
“To start is such a blessing to me," Sulaimon said. "I played at the same club as Courtney, and I looked up to her. Coming here, she’s definitely one of the many people here that I see as my idol. Just to be able to start and have people like her guide me is really great in itself.”
The Quakers have been guided by coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley to place an emphasis on starting strong. In order to overcome Yale and Brown this weekend, they will need to set the pace early in the matches.
Sophomore Caroline Furrer, who led the team in digs against Princeton, noted how the team has been emphasizing starting strong in practices in preparation for this weekend.
“The second half is really important to us; that’s what decides if you win or lose the game," she said. "But...we are trying to figure out ways so that the second we step on court, we are the best that we can be throughout the whole set instead of waiting until the second half.”
The team will definitely need to emphasize playing hard the second half of the weekend, as Yale is now ranked first in the Ivy League, knocking Princeton from its number one position for the first time since 2015.
While the Yale matchup may prove to be difficult, the Quakers hope to gain some confidence the night before against Brown (6-13, 1-7 Ivy). By focusing on defense and blocking, the team hopes to match the hard work ethic possessed by both of their opponents to come out on top.
“Brown is one of those teams that will never give up. They keep fighting no matter what the score is. So one thing that will be important for us is executing and taking care of business when we are on top,” Furrer concluded.
The Quakers face the Bears at 7p.m. on Friday and the Bulldogs at 5p.m. on Saturday.
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