Penn volleyball is still in the hunt for the Ivy League title as the season draws to a close.

Credit: Ilana Wurman

May the odds be ever in your favor, Penn volleyball.

After a succession of games at the Palestra, the Quakers (12-9, 7-5 Ivy) face one last battle on the road, playing Dartmouth at 5 pm on Friday and Harvard at 5 pm on Saturday.

The Red and Blue come off a highly productive weekend, during which they defeated both Cornell and Columbia. By beating Cornell (10-11, 6-6) in four sets, the Quakers captured a win against the Big Red for the first time in their last four meetings. The team then came out victorious against Columbia (9-12, 4-8), defeating the Lions for the first time since 2010, despite scoring fewer points than the Lions in the match.

If this season has shown us anything, the Red and Blue are all about beating the odds. 

Freshman Parker Jones underscored the improvement of the team over the course of the season.

“At the beginning of the season we had more pressure just to do well. We were kind of on a losing streak at the point in the season where we couldn’t win,” she noted. “Then, we were like ‘Oh, let’s play just to play.’ Then, there was no pressure and everybody started doing really well and we started winning a lot more.”

Winning this weekend is crucial if the Quakers wish to remain in contention for the Ivy League title. 

Currently, Harvard (12-9, 7-5) and Penn are tied for third with identical records. Dartmouth (8-13, 4-8) has fallen behind in the pack, tied with Columbia for the penultimate position in the Ivy League standings.

The last time they faced the Big Green, the Quakers were able to win in four sets, which boosts their confidence. However, the Red and Blue were not quite successful against Harvard in their previous match, as they ultimately fell short in five sets.

Despite the odds, the Quakers are optimistic that the team will come out on top against the Crimson.

“We are going in really confidently. Last time we played them at home. It was one of our first home games and it was kind of tense. We’re going in and trying to end out the season strong,” Jones stated.

Jones has already exhibited an impressive season for the Red and Blue. This week, the California native was named Ivy Rookie of the Week for the third time in the 2017 season. In the past two matches alone, Jones was responsible for 35 points and 34 kills. Her 293 kills over the course of the season rank third all-time for freshmen in Penn volleyball history.

The Quakers look to capitalize on the strengths of players such as Jones over the upcoming weekend. And this weekend will be key for the Red and Blue.

If Penn is able to finish off the season with two wins, and both Yale and Princeton lose their matches this weekend, then the Quakers will be eligible to compete in the Ivy League Playoffs for a chance at winning the league title.

Right now, the odds seem stacked against the Red and Blue.

This team, however, has a tendency to beat the odds. 

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