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It went down to the wire, but in winning game 5, the Quakers downed Dartmouth 3-2, taking the match at the Palestra. Credit: Pete Lodato

In the relatively small world of college volleyball, familiar faces are not uncommon. An already close community is made even more intimate by the concentration of players from California.

Penn’s roster alone boasts seven players from the Golden State. In fact, three Quakers hail from the same high school, Marymount in Los Angeles.

Of course, having friends or former teammates on the team helped newer faces on the roster, like Dani Shepherd, get acquainted with the team.

“Everybody is welcoming on the team, but having them to talk to — I can relate to them, because we both went to the same high school — made the transition so much smoother,” said the freshman libero.

“We have a very similar work ethic because we did play at the same high school” said senior setter Megan Tryon, also a Marymount alumna.

Not only have these players worked together on the court on their high school teams, but many of the girls have also seen each other on the club volleyball circuit.

The presence of a strong cluster of players from the West Coast was not planned; coach Kerry Carr looks throughout the nation for talented recruits. But passion for volleyball tends to be stronger on the coasts and in Texas than it is in other parts of the nation.

This trend appears across the Ivy League and throughout the East Coast. Though the Quakers will take on a more geographically diverse Cornell team Friday, almost half of the Columbia team, who the Red and Blue will face Saturday, hails from California.

“It’s always fun to see a familiar face, both on our team and also across the net,” said senior libero Madison Wojciechowski, also from Marymount. “It’s such a small tight-knit community … even if you didn’t know them very well or play on the same team, you’ve probably seen them before or played against them.”

This situation presents the interesting advantage of encouraging competition.

“I think it’s fun to play against your friends. It sort of brings up the competitiveness of the game. You always want to beat your friends and have bragging rights,” Wojciechowski said.

“It makes you want to play better,” Shepherd said.

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