Three up, three down: Penn volleyball vs. Princeton
Having won three of its last five matches — including its most recent contest against a strong Dartmouth squad — it looks like Penn volleyball’s young roster may be finding its footing. On Friday, the Quakers will hit the road to take on Ivy-rival Princeton and get back to .500 in conference play. Let’s look at some reasons why the Red and Blue may extend their recent success and some reasons why they may revert to old tendencies.
Recent history: While the Quakers (6-12, 3-4 Ivy) have taken positive strides as of late, Princeton (9-8, 4-3) has been digressing. The Tigers started their season strong, reeling off four consecutive Ivy victories. However, they have been in a funk lately, having dropped their past three games — all of which have been in conference.
Throwing a block party: In their most recent victory over Dartmouth, the Red and Blue were propelled by 11 crucial team blocks. Senior Kendall Turner — who has been credited for her leadership throughout the year — was a major part of the effort, chipping in five block assists herself. If Penn puts up a similar defensive effort on Friday, it could spell trouble for the Tigers.
A jack of all trades : It seems like Alex Caldwell has done a little bit of everything for the Quakers this year, and she pretty much has. The junior captain continued her stellar campaign by recording her second triple-double of the year over the weekend. She and fellow junior Alexis Genske will be relied upon heavily once again against Princeton.
Slightly less recent history : While recent results have comparatively favored Penn, the Tigers got the best of the Red and Blue earlier this season. In Penn’s Ivy home opener, the Quakers were swept by the Tigers, who were propelled by an impressive 29-assist performance from setter Lauren Miller . The Red and Blue will need to adjust if they want a different result this time around.
Setting the table : Miller has been a force for the Tigers all season. After finishing fourth in the Ivy League last year as a freshman, she has averaged an impressive 10.62 assists this season. The Quakers do not have a single individual averaging half of that mark.
On the road again: Penn has struggled in matches away from home this season, having gone 1-4 on the road thus far. Admittedly, several of these have come against tough national opponents, but the Quakers will need to overcome their overall inexperience and improve on the road moving forward. They will get another shot this weekend against Princeton in a match that will start the Quakers on the second half of their Ivy season.