1. What individual athlete has been most impressive throughout the early part of the season?
Sports Editor Colin Henderson: I’ve gotta go with senior outside hitter and Penn volleyball co-captain Alexis Genske. As the Quakers’ most electric athlete, she may have had unfair expectations put on her last year. But the team’s free-flowing offense seems to suit her well this year and allowed for her to make the DC Classic All-Tournament team this weekend.
Sports Editor Laine Higgins: Although Penn men’s soccer is only two games into its season, senior goalkeeper Max Polkinhorne is a shoe-in for the most impressive performance of the season thus far given how he spent his Friday night. In Penn’s scoreless, season-opening draw against Washington, the No. 7 team in the country, the Portola Valley, Calif., native made eight saves, keeping the Quakers in the mix for all 90 minutes of play.
Associate Sports Editor Thomas Munson: While women’s soccer has been grabbing headlines with incredible play through its first three games, I’m gonna go outside the box here and pick a player who hasn’t spent a minute on the field yet. Senior tight end Ryan O’Malley has been turning heads with his new hairdo and beard combo. The mohawk and full mutton chops are more impressive than anything done on any Penn field so far.
2. Which team has the most to prove between now and the end of September?
Henderson: Sticking with my theme from the first question, I’ll go with Penn volleyball. This is a group of athletes that needs to show us who they really are, and that means building off the positives of this opening weekend for the rest of the month.
Higgins: Definitely women’s soccer. Not only does new coach Nicole Van Dyke have big shoes to fill after the departure of Darren Ambrose — the program’s leader for the last 15 years — for Vanderbilt last winter, but the team also has a reputation to restore after a disappointing third-place finish in the Ivy League in 2014. It’s high time that the Quakers reconquer their spot atop the Ancient Eight, and Van Dyke is the program’s best chance of getting back there.
Munson: Nicole Van Dyke may have big shoes to fill, but they come nowhere near those of Ray Priore. Penn takes on Lehigh and Villanova before the month’s end, and while the Quakers are not favored in either, they could use a pair of strong performances after last season’s debacle.
3. What game are you most looking forward to next weekend?
Henderson: Not really a “game,” per se, but I’m looking forward to see how Penn cross country does in the Big 5 Invitational. For me, it never really feels like the fall season has begun until the runners have started to compete, and a lot of people are looking for big things from the men’s team this year.
Higgins: I’m always a fan of the tough non-conference games Penn plays in the early parts of the season, so I have to go with women’s soccer’s Friday contest against Clemson. Coming back to Philadelphia from the two-game road swing through South Carolina won’t be easy — the Tigers are ranked No. 13 in the nation right now and are undefeated through four games. While the Quakers also head into the match without a loss, their previous opponents pale in comparison to the challenge Clemson will present.
Munson: I have to agree with Laine here. Penn women’s soccer probably has the best chance of any fall team to put together a special season. Friday in South Carolina is the Quakers’ first chance to prove that they are the real deal. I can’t wait to see how they perform.Comments powered by Disqus
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