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Penn junior Kelly Szczerba eyes a kill against Columbia. The Quakers secured a perfect 2-0 weekend by defeating the Lions, 3-2. (Will Burhop/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

The Penn volleyball team entered this season hoping to improve on its low No. 6 seeding in last year's Ivy League Championship Tournament. That hope has now become reality. The Quakers took out Cornell in three straight games on Friday and beat Columbia in a two-and-a-half hour marathon, 3-2, on Saturday. By winning both matches, Penn secured the No. 2 spot in the Ivy Tournament, which gets underway November 10. Penn (20-7, 5-2 Ivy League) entered the Palestra on Friday night expecting Cornell (14-8, 4-3) to be playing at the top of its game. The Big Red were tied for first in the Ivies, and they knew they needed to beat Penn in order to have any shot at maintaining that ranking. Cornell started the match very sluggishly. The team had problems communicating on the floor, allowing Penn to jump out to a quick lead and eventually take the first game, 15-10. Penn obtained a big lead twice in the second game. The Quakers led 8-1 and 13-8, but Cornell came back to tie it up both times. Penn finally capitalized on Cornell hitting errors and won the second game, 16-14. "They never ever give up," Penn coach Kerry Major said. "I knew when we came back out after the second game we had to play even tougher in the third game." The Quakers were up to their coach's challenge. Penn junior setter Jodie Antypas did a great job moving the ball around and watching opposing blockers. She attacked on the second touch when appropriate and set the ball with great precision. Penn's blocking also came alive in the third game, and at the same time Cornell's offense started to struggle. The Quakers rolled easily in the third game, 15-4, and took the match. The Quakers played well in all aspects against Cornell. "I think most of it was staying mentally tough," Penn middle hitter Kelly Szczerba said. "The skills have been there; we just haven't been able to put it all together until tonight." Penn did a great job containing Cornell's key hitters. Middle blocker Robin Moore and outside hitters Jennifer Borncamp and Debbie Quibell combined for only 39 kills and jointly hit a very weak .104. Penn had a little more trouble with Columbia (15-9, 1-6) the following night. Lions setter Julia Topik, who picked up 77 assists in the match, did a great job finding her key hitters, middle hitter Kathy Lavold and outside hitter Madia Willis. The first game was very closely contested. Lavold's quick approach and arm swing gave Penn blockers some timing problems. She was key in Columbia's eventual victory in a 45-minute first game, 17-15. "I think we were surprised at their defense and their tenacity," Penn coach Kerry Major said. "We weren't mentally ready to play defense the way we did the night before." In the next two games, Columbia was plagued by 23 hitting errors and passing problems. The Quakers took the second and third games, 15-3 and 15-11, respectively. In the fourth game, Lavold and Willis took over. Lavold hit Topik's sets cross-court into open space, and Willis put one ball after another down the line and in. Coupled with Penn's failure to adjust its floor defense, Columbia took the game, 15-10. In the rally-scoring fifth game, the two teams matched each other kill for kill. In the end, strong play at the net would allow the Quakers to take the game, 15-11, and the match. While both victories were a total team effort, Szczerba played especially well. Against Cornell, she had 22 kills en route to hitting a stellar .553. Against Columbia, she picked up the elusive 'triple-double' by getting 13 kills, 15 digs and an astounding 12 blocks. "The passes were there, and Jodie [Antypas] was setting great, so it was easy," Szczerba said. The Quakers have now won 20 matches for the first time since 1987.

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