Penn volleyball will be in action once again this weekend, playing not one, not two, but three matches at the Robert Morris Invitational.
Competing against the Quakers (3-3) will be Rutgers (3-6), Robert Morris (5-7) and Middle Tennessee State (3-8). Though these matches might lack the intrigue of facing an Ivy League rival, all three teams should provide good competition for the Quakers.
“All three teams are playing well right now,” coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley said. “It will be a competitive atmosphere, so we need to play our best.”
One opponent is already a lot to prepare for, as coaches and players alike usually spend hours watching film to understand how each opponent plays. Facing three different teams in one week provides an extra challenge for both the coaching staff and the players in their preparation.
“The coaches have film on all the teams and we are preparing ourselves in order to face all three,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “But for now we are focused on what we need to do to get better in practice this week.”
So far, the nonconference schedule has provided mixed results for the team. During their first tournament the Quakers beat Central Michigan and George Mason, but fell to Campbell. In their second tournament this past weekend, the team defeated Siena, but lost to Navy and La Salle.
The losses against Navy and La Salle highlighted one of the team’s biggest issues for Schumacher-Cawley.
“I think against Navy and La Salle we started pretty slow,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “So, we need to start faster and earn points right away this weekend, because being down 0-4 or 0-3 at the beginning of a match is tough to come back from.”
The team has been working extremely hard throughout the preseason and first few tournaments to improve in their weakest areas, and the team is hoping that hard work pays off this weekend.
“We have been working on collectively having a better team defense and being more aggressive,” Schumacher-Cawley said of the preseason.
With three wins and three losses, the Quakers' start to the season has been mixed, and the team now has the opportunity to gain momentum heading into conference play. This weekend’s tournament should serve as a great preview for what to expect from the team this season.