This weekend, the Penn volleyball team will play in another non-conference tournament. It will again play away from the Palestra, and again, against a trio of teams over the span of two days. But the Quakers' opponent at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Villanova Invitational is not just any other team. It's Manhattan (2-7), the only non-conference team on the 2003 schedule that beat the Quakers (1-2) last season. "We definitely want to beat them," Penn junior Lynzy Caton said. "Who wants to lose to a team two years in a row?" Revenge will not be easy, however, as the Jaspers return 5'11" setter Luka Van Cauteren. The senior tri-captain accounts for 31 percent of Manhattan's kills and 40 percent of its assists. Van Cauteren -- a native of Oetingen, Belgium -- also leads the team in hitting percentage (.299), kills (150) and service aces (10). Before facing Van Cauteren and the Jaspers, the Quakers will play against Villanova (2-7) tonight at 7 p.m. and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (5-5) tomorrow at 12 p.m. The Wildcats will have home court advantage and are anxious to avenge last year's 3-0 loss to Penn at the Palestra. Although the Quakers handily defeated Villanova in 2002, they're not looking past any opponent. "We take each team the same way," Caton said. "We just want to go out there, play our best and win." The Quakers will be looking to achieve those goals on a short week of practice. After arriving back on campus on a red-eye flight from California at 6 a.m. on Monday morning, Penn did not practice that day, and thus only had three days of practice before this weekend's tournament. "I'd like to have five weeks of practice before this tournament," coach Kerry Major Carr said. "But we're used to practicing just a little bit and going into competition because of our short preseason. So it's not any different than what we're used to." In those three days of practice, the Quakers have been focusing on the aspects of the game with which they struggled at the Nike Invitational. "We've been practicing a lot of serving and passing," Penn freshman Meredith Damore said. "We're also running a lot of plays to help the setters connect consistently with the hitters. We want everyone to be more comfortable in their positions and working together." At the Villanova Invitational, the Quakers will continue in their efforts to determine the mix of personnel and attack schemes that will yield the best results. Penn also hopes to use Saturday's win against Radford as a springboard for this weekend's matches. "Last weekend helped us gain confidence for this weekend," Carr said. "We're looking forward to playing against teams that we know we can beat if we put everything together."Comments powered by Disqus
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