Tigers favored in Ivies Despite a new coach, new strategies, and a new outlook for the Penn women's volleyball team, some things never change -- like the uphill battle the Quakers face against last year's Ivy League powerhouses Princeton and Harvard. Coach Kerry Major is unfamiliar with most of the Ivy League teams having coached on the other side of the country in Alaska last season. "I know Yale and Princeton got some good recruits," Major said. She added that she knew Dartmouth's strengths and weaknesses because the Big Green played her team last year. Right now, however, the Quakers are concentrating on their first few opponents. They don't play a league rival until Princeton on October 6, but when they do, here's what Penn can expect to meet. · Brown finished last year with a 14-17 record, but only two of those wins were within the Ivy League. The Bears' best player is junior Tomo Nakanishi who was First Team All-Ivy last season. She ranked second in kills and fourth in digs in the league in 1997. · Columbia looks to better its '97 mark of 7-23. They will also attempt to win one league match after going 0-7 last year. Columbia also looks to improve in the categories of assists, hitting percentage and kills -- they ranked last in all three categories in the Ancient Eight last season. One bright spot for the Lions is sophomore Rebecca Shumsky, who returns after receiving Honorable Mention All-Ivy last year. · Cornell returns two key players to its team this season, team MVP junior Vanessa Richlin and Honorable Mention All-Ivy recipient sophomore Leah Wiiest. Cornell, which had an 11-18 overall record and 2-5 league record in 1997, ranked, not surprisingly, toward the bottom in most recorded statistics. The team was last in digs and second to last in service aces, assists and kills. · Dartmouth is coming off a strong 24-10 record and third place Ivy season. Junior Anne Murray, Dartmouth's First Team All Ivy representative is returning, as are Second Team All Ivies senior Felicity Kolp and junior Janna Merryfield. · Harvard was the only team to go undefeated in the league last season. The Crimson look to duplicate this feat this year and, in addition, beat Princeton for the season-ending tournament title and the automatic NCAA berth that comes with it. They might have trouble. They lost their best player, Elissa Hart, who was First Team All Ivy last season. They do return junior Linda Jellison, however, who made second team in 1997, as well as honorable mention winners senior Melissa Focum and sophomore Katherine Hart. · Yale had a decent season in '97 with a 14-10 overall record and a 4-3 league record. They were able to recruit some talented new players who Major said she was not able to get because she arrived at Penn too late in the spring. The new players will help senior Rosie Wustrack, who was Ivy League Player of the Year for the second straight year. Yale has a strong service game, leading the league in aces last season and could beat Princeton if Wustrack and the new faces gel. · Princeton continues to be the team to beat this year. Last year they won the NCAA berth and the Ivy tournament, but lost to Harvard in league play, going 6-1. The Tigers lost their two best players in Ayesha Attoh and Stephanie Edwards, but senior Rose Kuhn is poised to take over as team leader after making the Second Team All-Ivy last season. Princeton leads the league in most categories, including hitting percentage, assists and kills.Comments powered by Disqus
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