With 810.50 points, Harvard earns the Eastern championship. Penn has never claimed to be a powerhouse in the world of swimming and diving. The results of the 1998 Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League championships only confirm this idea. The Quakers finished last among the 10 teams competing, which include all eight Ivy League schools plus Army and Navy. Harvard was the league champion with 810.50 points. Despite finishing with only 140 points in the three-day meet held March 5-7 at Army, Penn (4-7, 3-7 EISL) was not disappointed with its performance. "To place high, you must have guys that can place in the top five or six," Quakers assistant coach Mike Schnur said. "We knew we didn't have that type of talent." Knowing that this team was not as deep or as talented as last year's squad, Penn relied on its youth at Easterns. In fact, 13 of the 17 Penn Eastern qualifiers were freshmen or sophomores. "We actually graduated more points last year than we scored this year," Schnur said. That type of talent was something that the Quakers did possess last year in the form of Jeff Brown. Brown, a two-time NCAA qualifier and three-time Eastern champion, was named co-swimmer of last year's meet, scoring 56 points. The loss of Brown to graduation was definitely felt this year as the Quakers struggled through the regular season. His importance to the team was also reflected in Penn's drop to 10th place at Easterns from last year's sixth. Despite Penn's final point total, the team was excited with several performances. Junior Paul Poggi cut nearly six seconds off his best time in the 200 yard freestyle, and freshman Blake Martin swam a lifetime best and nearly qualified for finals in the 1,650 yard freestyle. Also, the 800 relay team of Poggi, Matt Reilly, Craig Nelson and Nick Sheremeta qualified to the finals and was Penn's highest scoring relay. Another standout swimmer was senior Colin Robinson, who, as the team captain, has been an inspirational leader and important point scorer throughout the season. "Colin swam 1:55 in the 200 fly for three years, and, as a senior, he finally broke through and swam 1:54," Schnur said. "It was great to see him end his career with the best swim of his life." Although most swimmers were pleased with their performances, there was one diver who was not. Sophomore Kyle Goldbacher, who Schnur described as the best diver Penn has had in 20 years, was unable to repeat last season's performance where he finished sixth in the three meter event. Goldbacher did not qualifying for the finals in either diving event this year. As a freshman, Goldbacher made Penn history by advancing to Eastern finals. This year, he finished ninth in one-meter diving and eleventh in the three-meter event. "I was definitely disappointed, but I felt it was an accurate reflection of the entire season," Goldbacher said. "I struggled throughout the whole season." Goldbacher felt that the new computer scoring system, which was designed to speed up the events, actually slowed them down. "I dove like crap," Goldbacher said. "I dove as poorly as I could after diving for 10 years. This is in no way an excuse, but I couldn't relax with a 10 or 15 minute break between dives." Goldbacher also believes that his diving trouble could be attributed to his inability to train in the off season. In order to remain at Penn, he took a course and worked over the summer. Without much time to train, Goldbacher did not take one dive from last year's Easterns until the first day of practice this season. He will have to do the same over this off-season, so his prospects for next year are uncertain. "I have a lot of thinking to do. If I don't train, God knows I don't want to go through this again next year," Goldbacher said. "There is a question over whether I will dive next year." With Robinson being the only significant loss to graduation this year, most of Penn's team will be back and more experienced next year. They will probably not be able to compete with the Eastern elite, but a repeat dead last finish is unlikely. If Goldbacher, a former high school All-American, does not return next year, though, the Quakers may find themselves in the same position again.
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This weekend, the Penn men's swimming team heads to Army for the final meet of a difficult season --the Eastern Championships. Easterns, which are held today and Saturday, will feature the eight Ivy League schools plus Army and Navy. This meet is the sole determinate of the league champion. Last year at Easterns, Penn finished with the highest point total in school history. But it is unlikely that the Quakers (4-7, 3-7 EISL) will do as well this season. "Last year, we did exceedingly well. But a lot of that had to do with Jeffrey Brown, who graduated last year," Penn coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert said. Brown, who scored 56 points at last year's Easterns, was named co-swimmer of the meet and received the Howard Ulen Award for most points in a four-year career, winning the 200 butterfly for three consecutive seasons. Without Brown's presence, the Quakers did not perform as well in the regular season. To do better at Easterns, Penn will rely on several young swimmers to fill the void left by Brown. "We do not have as much talent as last year," Penn assistant coach Mike Schnur said. "It will be a real battle." Of the 17 swimmers and two divers traveling to Army for the three-day meet, only two -- Mark Spenner and Colin Robinson -- are seniors. Robinson, the team's captain, has been the Quakers' leader this year both in and out of the water, winning the 200 butterfly in several meets. The Penn coaches look to Robinson to finish off his collegiate career by earning points for Penn at Easterns. "Colin Robinson has never scored in the 200 fly [at Easterns]," Schnur said. "So that will be a nice way to end his career." Also expected to earn points for Penn is sophomore diver Kyle Goldbacher. Last season, Goldbacher became the first Penn Eastern diving finalist in 20 years. With a year of experience under his belt, the precocious diver should have little problem repeating. Two other Quakers sophomores should also figure in the scoring. Penn sophomores Matt Reilly and Jon Maslow, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 100 backstroke at at last year's Easterns, should each improve upon their impressive freshman showings. In addition, a strong corps of freshmen look to contribute at Easterns. Distance swimmer Blake Martin, who is seeded 12th in the mile freestyle, has been one of the top freshman performers this year. After several weeks of poor performances, the Quakers are ready to earn some points in the championship meet. Although Penn doesn't have the talent to compete with stronger teams like Harvard and Princeton, there is still an opportunity improve upon past performances. Last season, Penn finished sixth out of the 10 teams. Although the Quakers may not earn as many points this season, they should still beat weaker teams such as Dartmouth and Columbia. After two weeks of training and resting from a 233-65 thrashing of a loss to Harvard, Penn believes it will be in top condition this weekend. "We were only on track for a couple meets this season," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "I think they're ready to go and we'll just have to see what happens." After a tough season and some rough training, there is nothing left to do but swim. The Penn men swimmers will have to rely on the advice of their coach and hope for the best.
Saturday went just as expected for the Penn and Harvard athletic departments. While Penn disposed of the Crimson on the basketball court, it was a different story for the schools at Blodgett Pool in Cambridge, Mass. Entering into the Harvard dual meet, the Penn men's swimming team did not expect to win. For this reason, the 233-65 loss to the first place team in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League was not a surprise. "We got killed, but we expected to lose," Penn senior captain Colin Robinson said. "It was really nothing special, basically just a long road trip." Penn coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert echoed the views of her captain. "It was just an uneventful meet," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "I couldn't manufacture a story out of it if I tried." While the competition between Penn (4-7, 3-7 EISL) and Harvard (9-2, 8-1) was very one-sided, there were some bright spots for the Quakers. Several swimmers, although they did not win their events, swam well enough to improve their seeds for the Eastern championship meet in two weeks. Lawlor-Gilbert recognized freshman Ben Schmidt, who finished second in the 400 yard individual medley, as one of these performers. "Some people did improve their Eastern seed time, which is what we use this meet for," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "Ben Schmidt did almost a lifetime best and improved his seed time considerably." Another bright spot for the Red and Blue was diver Kyle Goldbacher whose victory in one-meter diving was the only first place finish of the meet for the Quakers. This meet also allowed the sophomore to take some of his dives from a diving tower. Although he dove from a tower at the Navy meet, Goldbacher was the only diver to use the tower this time. Despite having minimal success in the pool, Penn was not upset with the results of the meet. The swimmers' conditioning of the two teams seemed to favor Harvard. While the Quakers were sluggish after beginning the tapering process a few days earlier, many of the Harvard swimmers were fresh, shaved and swimming in their top events. The Quakers have entered the taper in order to prepare for Easterns. While tapering, swimmers reduce their daily yardage in small increments at practice. Also, the Quakers have stopped lifting weights and are now performing more speed-oriented workouts. Although this process will have Penn prepared for Easterns, it did cause some tiredness for the Harvard dual meet. "We were in our fourth day of rest," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "When you start rest, a lot of the time, you are not really crisp and not swimming as well as you will once the rest all kicks in." The tapering will continue until Easterns and by that time, the Quakers should be ready to swim their best. Although they still may not be able to compete with teams like Harvard, perhaps the results will not be so lopsided.
The Penn men's swimming team fell to a much stronger Yale team, but easily defeated Dartmouth at Sheerr pool. When the Penn men's swimming team was dominated by Navy last weekend, Quakers coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert believed it was a wake-up call as the team entered a difficult part of the season. That belief seemed true as the Quakers (3-6, 2-6 Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League) defeated Dartmouth 152-88 and competed with a much stronger Yale team in a double dual meet Saturday at Sheerr Pool. Despite losing 160-95 to the Elis (8-1, 5-1 EISL), the Penn squad improved in several events and had a few swimmers swim their lifetime bests while unshaved and untapered. "I thought Penn swam great," Yale coach Frank Keefe said. "I honestly didn't think the meet would be that close. We are pretty strong in events like the 1000 freestyle, which we didn't win." The winner of the 1000 freestyle was Quakers freshman Blake Martin, who was recognized by both Lawlor-Gilbert and Penn captain Colin Robinson as one of the meet's top performers. "Blake Martin swam an awesome 1000," Robinson said. "The coaches have really been pounding the guys in practice, and he came through." Robinson also helped the Quakers put some pressure on Yale by winning the 200 butterfly for the second straight week. Robinson, along with Jon Maslow, the winner of the 50 freestyle, provided veteran leadership while freshmen like Martin and Matt Dicker, who swam quality times in the 200 and 500 freestyles, contributed to Penn's success. "Yale was expected to blow us out of the pool, which, although they won by a healthy margin, they really didn't do," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "But I expected much more of a fight from Dartmouth. I think we intimidated them." Prior to the meet, the Quakers did expect to beat Dartmouth (1-8, 0-4), but they did not expect to do it with the ease they showed against the Big Green in their victory. "I was surprised by the Penn-Dartmouth score," Keefe said. "I guess Dartmouth just doesn't have the depth to get those extra points." One event in which Dartmouth did score some points was three meter diving, which was won by the Big Green's Toby Hays. The Quakers, however, did gain some points in this event as junior Matt Gries and sophomore Kyle Goldbacher finished second and third, respectively. Goldbacher also took first place in the one meter event. When Navy destroyed the Quakers last week, the team used it as inspiration for this double dual meet. Although Penn does not have the depth to compete successfully against better teams like Yale, it felt it accomplished its task.
Navy handled the Penn men's swimming team with ease in Annapolis. When a swimmer dives into the water at the start of a race, he remains submerged for a short time before finally rising to the surface and beginning the race. The Penn men's swimming team performed in a similar way Saturday afternoon as they allowed Navy to get ahead in the first half of the meet before surfacing with closer racing in the meet's second half. That was not enough for the Quakers (2-5, 1-5 Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League) as the Midshipmen (7-1, 6-1 EISL) still came out with a lopsided 177-62 victory in Annapolis, Md. "[Navy] caught us a little flat-footed in the first part of the meet," Quakers captain Colin Robinson said. "Once we got our heads on straight and realized that some guys were just walking around and not really concentrating, we swam well the rest of the meet." One of the events that led to Penn's improvement in the second half of the meet was Robinson's performance in the 200 meter butterfly with a time of 2:08.71. Robinson's finish in this event, in which Quakers freshman Brian Barone finished second, was the only victory for the Quakers among the meet's 13 events. As team captain, Robinson used the team's performance early in the meet as his motivation for the 200 butterfly. "We got shellacked in the first part of the meet, and I was a little angry," Robinson said. "I wanted to get a good swim in, so I was happy with that," he said. Quakers coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert was also pleased with Robinson's swim in the 200 fly, noting that his time was extremely fast, especially considering that the Navy pool is measured in meters, not yards. Lawlor-Gilbert also recognized diver Kyle Goldbacher as one of the meet's top performers. Goldbacher was able to finish second in the one-meter event against the Navy divers, who usually dominate the Eastern championships. "Navy divers are usually 1-2 almost everyone they dive against, so Goldbacher getting second in the one meter was very good diving," Lawlor-Gilbert said. Although Lawlor-Gilbert was pleased with the performance of Robinson and Goldbacher, she knew that her team would have difficulty against the Midshipmen. "We were on the road, we were a little fatigued, and we knew that Navy has dominated almost everyone in the league. We had our hands full," Lawlor-Gilbert said. Despite a losing record in the EISL thus far, the Quakers are still looking forward to the rest of the season, which will continue Saturday with a double dual meet against Dartmouth (1-6, 0-4) and Yale (7-1, 3-1). "These losses can be a good wake-up call for guys to swim better and tougher," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "I think they'll bounce back this Saturday." With several more EISL meets ahead, it is time for the Penn men swimmers to emerge from the water and begin racing.
As the Penn men's swimming team enters the second half of its season, the Quakers are focusing themselves on the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League (EISL) rivals that lie ahead. After last week's defeat of non-conference rival Rutgers, the Quakers begin the run to the Eastern Championships with a double dual meet against Brown and Army tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Sheerr Pool. Returning for its first meet following the winter break, Penn (2-2, 1-2 EISL) handed the Scarlet Knights (2-4) a 177-116 defeat last Saturday. The Quakers were pleased with their performance against Rutgers, especially because they had not swam in a meet in over a month. "We swam well and had some very good races," Penn coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert said. "From the sprinters through the middle distance swimmers to the distance swimmers, they knew what we needed to do." Two of those swimmers who knew what the team needed were sophomores Jon Maslow and Matt Reilly. Maslow took first place in both the 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, and Reilly was the winner of the 100 and 200 backstroke. "If I had to choose an outstanding performer for our team, it would be Matt Reilly," 15th-year coach Lawlor-Gilbert said. Also contributing to Penn's win was diver Kyle Goldbacher, who won the three-meter event and finished second in the one-meter. Despite his placing, Goldbacher was not pleased with his performance. "It was a relaxed atmosphere, because the swimming team didn't need my points to win," Goldbacher said. "But I wasn't too happy with my diving. My first two dives, which are usually my best, were my two worst." Although his diving against Rutgers was not up to his usual standard, Goldbacher believes it did help him prepare for tomorrow's meet. This meet will feature the Army divers, who were Goldbacher's main competition at last year's Easterns, and two new divers from Brown. Goldbacher is not sure what to expect from Brown's two new divers. "One is a freshman who stayed back to repeat senior year of high school or something, and the other is, like, 24 years old, but I've never seen either of them dive," he said. Although Goldbacher does not know what to expect from the divers, Lawlor-Gilbert expects the meet to be very tough. "It will be wild having three teams at a dual meet," she said. "We just must focus on one event at a time." Last season, the Quakers defeated Brown (1-2, 1-1) but lost to Army (3-5, 0-5) in two extremely close meets. Lawlor-Gilbert believes her swimmers focused well against Rutgers, and that focusing will be key this weekend. "A lot of teams tend to focus but have the rest of the season in the back of their minds," she said. "We need to focus on every meet and every event." After a winter break in which the swimmers worked out four or five hours each day after returning to campus December 29, the Quakers will focus on every dual meet before they reach their main goal, the championships in March. This road begins tomorrow as the Quakers focus on beating two of their Eastern rivals.
With a 127-71 thrashing of Swarthmore Wednesday evening, the Penn men's swimming team posted its first victory of the season. After losses to league rivals Cornell and Princeton in the season's first two meets, Penn defeated the Garnet Tide in its last dual meet until January 10, when it faces Rutgers. The Quakers (1-2) did not need top-notch performances to beat Division III Swarthmore (5-1), and Penn coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert took advantage of this uneven matchup by placing several swimmers in different events. "Since Swarthmore is not Division I, they were not that much of a challenge," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "We moved some swimmers around, and it worked well." Lawlor-Gilbert was pleased with several freshmen who showed considerable talent in new events. Vinnie Connors, also a butterfly swimmer, took first in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, and Matt Dicker, who specializes in the backstroke, placed first in the 500 free. "It wasn't that tough against Swarthmore, but the meet helped us get ready for this weekend," Connors said. This weekend is the La Salle Invitational (Philadelphia Open), in which Penn faces seven other schools from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. According to Lawlor-Gilbert, this invitational meet, which features every event from Easterns in less than two days, is "a real test of toughness for the team." Most of the other teams are totally rested and shaved for this meet, which starts tonight at 5 p.m. at La Salle. The Quakers do not have this advantage coming off the Swarthmore meet. "We have to bear down since we will not be totally shaved," Lawlor-Gilbert said. "It will be a real test of grit." Despite this disadvantage, Lawlor-Gilbert expects her team to perform well. Only able to enter 24 spots, Penn looks to its top swimmers to excel as they did against Swarthmore. This group includes senior captain Colin Robinson, who set a pool record of four minutes, 18.89 seconds in the 400-yard individual medley on Wednesday, and Kevin Reilly, the winner of the 200 butterfly. Lawlor-Gilbert was pleased not only with the performances of her young swimmers against the Garnet Tide, but also with those of the established team leaders. "Not only did guys get to try new events, but we also had guys get tough on events they need to be tough on this weekend," Lawlor-Gilbert said. As the Red and Blue enters the La Salle Invitational, Lawlor-Gilbert is anxious to see how the Quakers swim with only one day to rest between meets. "If we can go in there and swim our best times unshaved, we will be in great shape for the rest of the season," she said.
Coming off a season in which it broke the school record for most points in the Eastern Intercollegiate Swimming League championship meet, the Penn men's swimming team begins this season with the hope of building on that success. The Quakers must work hard to accomplish this goal and to make up for the loss of five seniors to graduation, including Jeff Brown, a two-time NCAA qualifier and the holder of three Penn individual records. "We had a strong class of five seniors who contributed heavily to the team," Quakers coach Kathy Lawlor-Gilbert said. "This year, we have a younger team and we'll be in a fight in a lot of events in the league." Penn's youth does not mean that they lack accomplished swimmers. Sophomores Matt Reilly and Jon Maslow both had tremendous freshman years, placing fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 100-yard backstroke at Easterns. These young Quakers are also not without leaders. Senior captain Colin Robinson will swim in the 200-butterfly, as well as the 200- and 400-individual medleys. Penn will look to Robinson to score points, but they will look to him more as a team leader. "The team voted for Colin Robinson to be their captain," said Lawlor-Gilbert. "I think under his leadership, they will be a tough squad." Robinson expects the Red and Blue to continue to build upon its past success and not to slip to the back of a league that many predict will be dominated by Harvard and Princeton. "One thing we've established in the last few years is a team that is prepared for every contest," Robinson said. "We must continue to build on that success and that work ethic." In addition to Reilly and Maslow, Robinson expects seniors Rob Hassett and Mark Spenner, as well as juniors Graham Rigby and Paul Poggi, to continue to lead the team this year. On the other side of the pool, diver Kyle Goldbacher returns as one of the top divers in Penn history. Last year, as a freshman, Goldbacher placed sixth at Easterns in the three-meter event, becoming the first Quakers diver to reach the diving finals in the event in 20 years. "He [Goldbacher] was only tenths of a point out of fifth place last year, so he has done exceedingly well," Lawlor-Gilbert said. Despite returning several Eastern qualifiers and point scorers, every meet will be a challenge for Penn. Last season, the team finished with a dual meet record of 4-5 in the EISL, which consists of the eight Ivy League schools, Army and Navy. One of Robinson's goals for the team is to improve upon this dual meet record. "I expect the team, like all of our teams in the past, to be competitive in every dual meet and to be prepared to swim every Saturday," Robinson said. Robinson's team is now preparing for this Saturday, when it will face Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., in the first meet of the season. Last year's meet against the Big Red was a battle in which Penn prevailed by three points. If the Quakers are to succeed this season, they will again have to rely on winning closely contested meets. "I want to get the team ready to swim as tough as possible in the first meet and take it from there," Lawlor-Gilbert said.
The Quakers are seeded sixth for the double-elimination tournament. When a team's season comes down to one weekend, that team is usually resting near the top of the standings. The Penn volleyball team is definitely not at the top of the Ivy League, but that is the situation it faces. Penn has been preparing for this weekend's Ivy League championship tournament the whole season. In Ivy volleyball, the regular season determines the seedings for the tournament, but it has no direct effect on the outcome of the season. As the sixth seed in the eight-team field, the Quakers (10-12, 2-5 Ivy League) will face third-seeded Dartmouth this afternoon in New Haven, Conn. The Quakers were in a similar position as the sixth seed in last year's tournament. After a loss to eventual champion Brown in the first round, the Red and Blue defeated Columbia before being eliminated by Princeton. On October 17, the Big Green (20-7, 5-2) dominated the Red and Blue, winning 3-0 in a match at the Palestra. This match included a 15-2 thrashing in the second game. Penn coach Margaret Feeney is not allowing this previous match to affect her outlook on the tournament, which carries an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament for the winner. "We have changed our lineup since last time, and we're optimistic about the match," Feeney said. It has been a difficult season for Penn, but a fine showing in last weekend's Army Classic has boosted the team's confidence. Penn was 2-1 at this tournament, defeating Marist and Army. Its only loss was to Central Florida, which has a record of 24-1. "We've gained a lot of confidence over the last few weekends," Feeney said. "That confidence helps a lot going into a conference tournament." Throughout the season, Penn has relied on great play from its top players, including middle blockers Sue Sabatino and Karen Lewis, outside hitter Jessica Luftmann and setter Heather Tillett. Despite this, Feeney acknowledged that all eight of her regular players must be in top form if the Quakers are to play well this weekend. "We'll look to all eight people to play some of the best volleyball they've played this year," Feeney said. "We won't rely on one or two people. The whole team must come together as a cohesive unit." Penn has also had difficulty eliminating errors this season. The Quakers have spent much time working on their hitting, setting and defense. Penn's performance in last weekend's Army Classic has Feeney believing that her team will play well in the Ivy League tournament. The Quakers played well both offensively and defensively in all three matches, including the loss to Central Florida, which boasts the second-longest winning streak in the nation. If the Quakers defeat Dartmouth, they will face the winner of the Princeton-Cornell match tonight at 7 p.m. If they lose, however, the season is not over., since the event is in a double-elimination format. A loss to the Big Green will force Penn to play its next match tomorrow afternoon. As the season winds to a close, everything Penn has worked on this year comes down to one weekend. Eight teams enter the tournament, and one champion will be determined by Sunday. For Penn, this tournament represents a chance to prove that it is one of the Ivy League's top teams. "It is the culmination of our season, and it will determine the champion," Feeney said. "We are looking forward to going up there and having a good weekend."
and Daniel Tenenblatt After last weekend's amazing display of fumbles and ineptitude, we at Ivy Roundup wondered if there was a reason for all the mistakes. After all, this is Ivy League football, home of both the 1920 and 1934 Rose Bowl champions. After consulting with some of the participants, we came to the conclusion that we are indeed masters of the obvious: Saturday's foul weather was the reason for the sloppy play. Pathetic Lie of the Week Yale's offense was characteristically putrid on Saturday with seven fumbles and only 110 yards of total offense. Much of this misfortune must obviously be attributed to the Penn defense, but the weather was also a factor. Besides slowing the Elis vaunted aerial assault, the cold and rain kept the normally feverish Yale fans in their rooms. We at Roundup, however, are not so easily discouraged. We braved the elements to join a small crowd that Yale said consisted of 3,600 fans. We figured we would find the real total by consulting The Daily Pennsylvanian photo department, but they -- like the Elis receiving corps -- dropped the ball. Our thorough investigation produced a Roundup "approximate attendance" figure of 382, a mere 3,218 less than the "official" total. We called Yale sports information and asked how they calculate attendance at football games. After a full three minutes of conference, the group of New Haven, Conn., scholars in the office decided that "it's probably based on ticket sales." We were looking for something a little more substantial, so the sports publicity intern decided to connect us to Wayne Dean, an assistant to the athletic director. She also gave us his phone number, "in case it gets cut off ? or something." "It's usually the number of ticketed people," Dean said. "We had 13,000 tickets sold for the game, but we did the best we could to count the actual number of people." We asked how many people he thought were still there at the end. Getting hostile, Dean said, "I don't know. I was busy tearing down tents because the wind was blowing." Tents. Right. That explains it. We at Roundup would have been the first to help with the "flying tents" if only we had seen them. We concluded that the phantom 3,218 Yale fans must have run into the stadium while no one was looking, realized it was a Yale football game and immediately left. Thank God the good folks at Yale sports information were quick enough to record their presence. Frostbite of the Week An historic event occurred last Saturday. For the first time since 1972, Columbia actually shutout an Ivy League opponent, beating Princeton, 17-0. Any loss to the Lions is reason to hang your head in shame, but when it's a shutout, it might be a better idea just to kill yourself. Those weenies at Princeton, however, will not take anything negative without making excuses. Our contact tried to brush off the loss at first. "Personally, I don't care. It's not a big deal," one of the sports information lackeys said. It wasn't long, though, before his true Princeton weenieness came through. Trying to offer a reason for the loss, he said, "Well, the weather wasn't very conducive to our offense." Good point, sir. Then again, what weather is conducive to sucking? Asked for his prophesy for the Tigers visit to Philly this weekend, the sports info guy said, "Well, Penn is tough, but if the weather is good, I think we'll win." Unfortunately for this schmuck, the weather forecast calls for a rain and heavy winds. Perhaps the Tigers should have considered the weather before they decided to abandon the tropical confines of Northern New Jersey for the entire season. Plan of the Week We at Roundup were not satisfied with Princeton's description of its loss to Columbia so we went right to Columbia coach Ray Tellier. What ensued was a clear explanation for the continued athletic excellence at Columbia. "Wow, the first shutout in 25 years, coach. You must have come in with quite a game plan." "If you hang onto the ball, you've got a great chance to win," Tellier said. "What? No secret weapon? No big discovery after hours studying game tapes?" "If you hang onto the ball, you've got a great chance to win," he said. Uh, coach, you already said that. "So you're saying that you didn't even bother to prepare for the game?" "It's hard to do in weather like that," Tellier said. Looks like Tellier is ready to join Billy Joe Hobert in the NFL.
Several Quakers seniors played in their final home game, with only the Ivy League Tournament left in their careers. It has been a long season for the Penn volleyball team. With the Ivy League Tournament less than two weeks away, the Quakers still need to work out a few problems and build up their confidence. With a 3-1 win over Lehigh last night in its last home appearance of the season, Penn got some of the confidence it sorely needs. The Quakers (8-11) jumped out to a quick lead in the first game before eventually winning 15-8. "We started out really quickly, but then we hit a lull," said Angie Whittenburg, who finished the match with 21 digs. "We didn't let them get many points, but we were stuck on 14 for a while." The second game began with a powerful kill by middle blocker Diana Meek, which put the Quakers up 1-0. That, however, was the end of Penn's control of the game. Lehigh (13-11) took a 6-2 lead before ending the game with a 15-8 victory. With the score tied at one game apiece, game three was a battle with both teams trading points and possession of the ball. Penn finally pulled ahead at the end to regain the match lead with a 17-15 win. "We really had to work in the third game to pull that out," Quakers coach Margaret Feeney said. "That 'never say die' attitude is a great quality to take into a championship tournament." Needing one more victory to take the match, the Red and Blue dominated the Engineers in the fourth game. With a 15-6 win in the fourth and final game, the Quakers ended their 1997 home season with their fifth victory at the Palestra this season. This match against Lehigh was not only Penn's last home game of the season, but it was also the last time setter Heather Tillett and outside hitter Jessica Luftman would play in the Palestra. Both seniors have played pivotal roles on this struggling team. Luftman currently stands fourth in the Ivies with 230 digs, and Tillett is sixth in the league in assists. "I'm real happy that the seniors were able to culminate their careers with a win in the Palestra," said Feeney, who acknowledged the leadership and dedication of both players. "To be able to see their work pay off in their final match is a nice reward for them." Feeney also cited the work ethic displayed by Tillett and Luftman throughout this frustrating season. Despite their losing record and problems with hitting and defense, the Quakers still have a chance to win the Ivy title. Penn will play in the Army Invitational this weekend, which will give it one final chance to work out problems before the Ivies. "I think the Lehigh win will give us confidence going into this weekend," said Karen Lewis, who had a .316 hitting percentage for the match. "We have three more matches to prepare for the Ivies." The Quakers have been trying to work out many of the same problems all year. If they cannot do it this weekend, they might not go very far into the Ivy League Tournament.
For Ivy League volleyball teams, the regular season is just preparation for the season-ending Ivy League Tournament. Penn entered the weekend road trip hoping to improve its seed in the upcoming tournament by defeating two teams that are close to it in the Ivy race, Cornell and Columbia. The Penn volleyball team has been looking forward to the tournament all season, but after going 1-1 over the weekend, the Quakers (7-11, 2-5 Ivy League) enter the tournament as only the sixth seed in an eight-team field. In the Cornell match, the Big Red (10-15, 2-4) jumped out to a quick lead by winning the first two games. After falling behind, the Quakers came back to win the next two games to force a deciding fifth. The Big Red would not let Penn come back, however, as they took the match by winning the final game, 15-11. "We just did not give up and we lost a heartbreaker," Quakers coach Margaret Feeney said. "We got beat. We did not roll over and die." "The loss at Cornell was hard to accept, because we should have beaten them," Penn outside hitter Jessica Luftman said. "But we were persistent throughout the match." After the Cornell match, Penn traveled several hours to New York City on Saturday to face Columbia (3-20, 0-6), the Ivies' last-place team. "I was a little nervous going into the Columbia match," Feeney said. "We had just gone all out for five games, and we didn't even get in until 3:00 in the morning." Despite the fatigue from the Cornell match, the Red and Blue were able to handle the weaker Lions. After winning the first two games -- including a 15-4 drubbing in the second game -- the Quakers let Columbia back into the match. Following losses in games three and four, Penn regained its composure and convincingly beat Columbia 15-8 in the decisive game. With the Ivy League season finished, the Quakers must play four more matches before the Ivy Tournament, where they face Dartmouth in the first round. During these four matches, Penn will continue to work on problems it has experienced all year, especially serving and hitting errors. "We started doing well with combination sets this weekend," Luftman said. "I think that we must continue to work on that." Throughout the season, the Quakers have had the Ivy Tournament as their main goal. As the tournament approaches, Penn must concentrate on improving certain aspects of its game in these final matches. "One weekend determines the champion," Feeney said. "Whoever is playing well that weekend could win, and we must be confident going into the tournament." The Quakers will finish their home season tonight against Lehigh (13-10) at 7 p.m. at the Palestra. According to Feeney, Lehigh plays with a style similar to Colgate, which Penn defeated earlier in the season.
Winning always feels good, but when a win breaks a losing streak, that victory tastes especially sweet. The Penn volleyball team knows this feeling. After losing all five of its last games in straight sets, the Quakers were due for a win. Not only did Penn get that win last night against La Salle at the Palestra, but the team regained a confidence it will need in the next few weeks before the Ivy League tournament. "We're very excited about the win," said Penn's Megan McKay, who finished with four service aces. "It's definitely a confidence booster." Not only had Penn lost each of the last five matches, but they had not won a single game in almost three weeks. That changed as Penn shut out La Salle in straight games and never relinquished the lead in any of the three. Against the Explorers, the Quakers (6-10) played with an aggression that had been absent from their play in recent weeks. In the first game, the Red and Blue jumped out to an 11-1 lead. After allowing La Salle (9-11) to earn some points, the Quakers eventually put them away, 15-10. Statistically, this game was excellent for the Quakers. They completed the game with 19 kills and a high hitting percentage (.340). The second game was very similar to the first as the Quakers took a 12-4 lead. After allowing La Salle to creep back into the game, the Quakers got back on track and won, 15-11, on a powerful kill by middle blocker Sue Sabatino, who hit at a .355 percentage for the match. This confidence carried over into the third game as Penn totally dominated, winning the game, 15-6, and earning its first victory since October 3 at Brown. Quakers coach Margaret Feeney described the match as a must-win, saying, "After losing two disappointing conference matches this past weekend, we feel like we are starting a new season. We are 1-0 in our rebirth." One area the Quakers have had difficulty with in the past has been unforced errors. Against the Explorers, Penn finished with only 14 hitting errors. In fact, last night's match may have been the best statistical game for the Quakers this season, as they were able to improve their hitting, finishing with a .246 percentage. "We hit .246 and we're going to win," Feeney said. "We've just been making too many errors, and tonight we only had 14 hitting errors. That attributes to winning." The Quakers now have a long break before resuming their schedule against Cornell in eight days. As the Ivy League tournament approaches, Penn must continue to play with the focus it showed against the Explorers. Sabatino acknowledged the importance of the La Salle win, but realized that Penn still has a lot of work before the Ivy tournament. "It is just a beginning," she said. "It definitely helped, but it is just the start of where we need to be."
For two weeks, the Penn volleyball team has been on the road. This weekend, they return to the Palestra to face Ivy League rivals Dartmouth and Harvard, two of the top teams in the conference. Coming off a weekend in which they dropped matches to Cal State-Fullerton and UC-Irvine, both in straight sets, the Quakers (5-8, 1-2 Ivy League) resume their conference season against Dartmouth (15-2, 2-0) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Palestra. "We had a great California visit," Quakers coach Margaret Feeney said. "We saw a lot of alumni and West Coast parents. It was more like a team vacation with two matches thrown in." "I am really excited to get back into it and play the other Ivy teams," said Penn junior middle blocker Sue Sabatino, who currently leads the Ivy League in blocks, averaging 1.52 per game. Feeney noted the Quakers took a number of lessons from their recent non-conference losses. She believes their defense and serving have improved, but Penn still must work on outside hitting. "We hope the confidence will carry over into this weekend, and we'll be aggressive and ready to go," Feeney said. "We must be confident and focused on every point." Feeney expects the two weekend matches to be competitive. Dartmouth and Harvard (9-5, 2-0) stand at the top of the Ivy standings. "They are two teams that are playing very good volleyball," she said. "But we've been playing some good out-of-conference programs and at 1-2, we're still right there and we're pretty confident." After facing the Big Green tonight, the Quakers will play Harvard at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Harvard was shut out by Brown, a team the Quakers have defeated earlier in the season in a non-Ivy League tournament. A key to stopping Harvard will be controlling Elissa Hart, who earned first team All-Ivy honors last season and is now leading the conference in kill percentage (.327).
Like many Penn students, freshman Diana Meek will be travelling home for fall break. Unlike most Penn students, though, Meek will not use fall break as a chance to take time off from hard work. Meek, an Escondido, Calif., native, and her Quakers volleyball teammates will be making a West Coast road trip to take on Cal State-Fullerton and UC-Irvine this weekend. "I've played in their gyms for my club team," middle blocker Meek said. "I'm really excited to play a college match there." The Quakers (5-6) will be using these matches to work on their play before resuming the Ivy season next week. "Our goal is to improve with every match, always keeping our main goal, the Ivy League tournament, in the back of our heads," Quakers assistant coach Brant Chillingworth said. The Red and Blue will take on Cal-St. Fullerton (8-9) Sunday at 7 p.m. before going on to Irvine to play the Anteaters Monday. The Anteaters (4-11) defeated Brown 3-2 in a competitive match earlier in the season. Penn came back from an 0-2 deficit to beat Brown, the defending Ivy champs, last Friday. After beating Brown, though, the Quakers lost to Yale the next day in straight sets. The team blamed a lack of concentration following the Brown victory for the loss. "We have to start playing smart, like we know we can play," Meek said. "We do it in practice, and we have to do it in the matches." Chillingworth expects Penn to concentrate on these two matches in order to improve for the Ivy teams. "We know we'll be facing two tough teams," he said. "I expect the team to play at a high level. We must reduce unforced errors and become more disciplined on defense." Despite the concentration on the matches, the Quakers expect to have a good time during these few days in California. "It'll be fun, but we need to concentrate on volleyball," said Meek, whose home is only an hour south of the two schools. "If we work hard and focus, it will pay off and we'll have a blast." Meek feels this road trip, the farthest the Quakers will travel this season, will inspire the team to play at their top level. In addition to Meek, three other Quakers will be visiting their home state for these matches. "This trip will have us more fired up, especially me," Meek said. "I know we'll be playing hard." Although the results of these matches have no direct effect on the Ivy standings, the Quakers know they need this tune-up to get back in the Ivy race. A trip to California may be considered a time to relax for most people. For Penn's California contingent, fall break represents not just a homecoming, but also a time to concentrate and work.
In its last two games before the start of the Ivy League season, the Penn volleyball team went 1-1 over the weekend against Delaware and Colgate. The Quakers opened Saturday night's match against Delaware at the Palestra in dominating fashion, jumping to a 12-4 lead in the first game before eventually winning that game, 15-11. Penn (4-4), though, was not able to carry this momentum into the rest of the match, as it dropped the next three games to the Blue Hens. "We just didn't adapt as well in the second, third and fourth games," Quakers coach Margaret Feeney said. Despite the loss, Feeney was not disappointed in the play of her team. "Although we were down 10-1 at one point, we never rolled over and died," she said. Feeney acknowledged the success of servers Angie Whittenburg and Megan McKay, each of whom finished with two service aces. A major focus of this weekend was to finalize a lineup for Wednesday's match against Princeton. Feeney did establish one she believes will be most effective. This lineup, consisting of a rotation of eight key players, was used in Sunday's match against Colgate. The Red Raiders, who Penn did not face last year, was coming off a win against Delaware (7-7) only a few hours before the Penn match. In the first game, the Red Raiders (7-7) jumped to a 7-1 lead over the Quakers. Penn, though, was able to come back to win that first game, 15-9. "We came out with a lot of enthusiasm," said Penn junior Karen Lewis, who finished with 20 kills in her first full match after an injury. "Coming back after being down 7-1 really showed our team's strength." After defeating Colgate in the second game, Penn was ready to finish off the Red Raiders as they led 14-8 in the third game. The Quakers, however, were unable to get the last point needed to win the match. Colgate came back to take that third game, 16-14. "We were unfocused at times in that game, but we got our heads back in it for the fourth game," said Quakers junior middle blocker Sue Sabatino, who finished with 11 kills and 10 total blocks for the match. In that fourth game, Penn never gave Colgate a chance, as they earned a 15-4 victory. The Quakers must now concentrate on Wednesday's Ivy opener against Princeton. "This is what it's all about -- Penn versus Princeton," Feeney said. Sabatino reflected the enthusiasm of her coach, saying, "I am so ready for the Princeton match, I wish it was tomorrow."