This weekend, Penn volleyball will match up with both the top and bottom of the Ivy League this weekend, taking on first-place Yale and last-place Brown. Despite a tough loss to Princeton last weekend — a squad tied atop the conference standings with Yale — the Quakers (5-14, 2-6) have shown signs of improvement since their rough start to the season.
“This is the most resilient team I have ever worked with. Their ability to bounce back from failure quickly is tremendous. They are some of the toughest people I have ever met,” coach Iain Braddak said.
Penn’s convincing home wins versus Columbia and Cornell showed the Quakers have the ability to compete with any team in the Ivy League when they play at their best.
Looking ahead, Yale (13-4, 7-1) is coming off of a dominant 3-0 win versus Brown (8-10,1-7). The Bulldogs' average kill percentage is one of the highest in the Ivy League, making them a tough matchup for the Quakers.
“One of our main priorities right now is to serve [Yale] very tough. To keep them out of system [and] to force them into difficult offensive situations,” Braddak said.
Brown, on the other hand, has dropped its last five matches, with its last win coming in a comeback victory against Penn at the Palestra.
The key to the Red and Blue’s success thus far has been dominating the net and limiting errors. The Quakers have been the most successful in games with a high volume of kills and blocks as the team has a 4-3 record in games that it finishes with more than 45 kills.
With respect to errors, its best performances have come in games where it limits the number of unforced errors.
“We do our best every single match, every single practice, to reduce errors. I think ultimately, our strategy revolves around reducing errors on our side of the net,” Braddak said.
The Quakers have particularly struggled on the road as they failed to win a game in either of their Ancient Eight games away from the Palestra.
“Our frame or lense [is] to look at the road as an adventure, to take what we do here with us. That competitive edge, that grit, that tenacity, when we take that stuff with us on the road, we are very successful,” Braddak said.