Chance to claw their way back
Penn, Princeton square off in hope of moving up in Ivy standings
April 23, 2010, 4:26 am · Updated April 23, 2010, 12:00 am·
Though the Penn softball team may have hit a rough patch — losing six of its last seven games — if the statistics are any indicator, it should see victory against its rival this weekend.
The Quakers will head to New Jersey for their annual four-game set against Princeton. The first two games will begin today at 12:30 p.m., and the series will finish up with two more tomorrow at the same time.
While most teams look forward to home-field advantage, when it comes to the Tigers’ stadium, the odds are on the Quakers’ side. Princeton (10-26, 4-8 Ivy) is 0-7 at home this season.
Already filled with the emotion of playing its rival, Penn (13-20, 7-5) is hoping to keep that losing streak in tact.
“I don’t want to lose any game we play,” coach Leslie King said. “And we certainly don’t want to lose to Princeton. Nobody wants to lose to Princeton. We certainly don’t want to be the first [to lose to them at home].”
In order to win those games, Penn needs its offense to come alive after manging only two total runs in a midweek doubleheader against Drexel.
But the Quakers should be able to keep the hits coming against a team whose collective 4.96 earned run average ranks it last in the Ivy League.
“Princeton has a lot of talent, and you have to give them respect,” King said. “But we know if we stick to our game plan, we can hit any of their pitchers and any pitchers in the league.”
History is on the Quakers’ side, as they did particularly well last year against the Tigers offensively, scoring 22 runs and winning three out of four.
In order to repeat that performance, the team is going to need other players to start to match the production of junior captain Alisha Prystowsky, who leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, doubles and home runs.
“She works very hard at her game, and she gets the dividends from that,” King said. “It all comes from her work ethic, and the other kids see that. Though all the girls work hard, I would like everybody to go as above and beyond as Alisha.”
Victories in these four games are especially crucial if the Quakers want to keep their Ivy title hopes alive. Penn currently sits second in its division and trails Cornell by three games.
Yet the Red and Blue can’t ignore the team three games behind them in the standings — third-place Princeton. A bad outing this weekend could allow the Tigers to climb up in the standings.
“We are just going to have to play our best softball,” King said. “If we do that, I am confident we will win the series and then see where we are.”
With that mindset, if the Quakers start a bit of a winning streak, just maybe they will also get some luck when Cornell faces off against Columbia this weekend.