PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers look to keep their place in the Ivy standings when they play in the Palestra for the final time this weekend, hosting Columbia, Friday at 7 p.m., and then matching up with Cornell, Saturday at 5 p.m.
Penn is 11-10 on the season after going 1-1 last weekend while Columbia enters the weekend winners in three of the team's last four matches. Cornell, meanwhile, has dropped five straight, though the last two were each by a 3-2 margin. The Quakers beat the Lions in their previous meeting, 25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24, coming back from mid-set deficits in three of the four sets. Penn also dispatched of Cornell in three earlier this year, 25-18, 25-21, 25-17.
Last Time Out
The Red and Blue opened last weekend with a convincing three-set win over Brown, taking the match, 25-12, 30-28, 25-23. Sophomore Lauren Martin had ten kills while Madison Wojciechowski added 19 digs. A night later Penn stumbled against Yale, falling in three sets, 18-25, 18-25, 22-25. In the loss, sophomore Amanda Pacheco led the team with 11 kills while hitting at a .438 clip.
Going into last weekend both Penn and Princeton held a one game lead over Yale with a 6-1 record in league play. However, the Bullodgs scored a pair of upsets, going 2-0 with victories over both the Quakers and the Tigers to jump percentage points ahead of both teams. Yale is now 8-2 while Penn and Princeton are both at 7-2. The Quakers can still successfully defend their Ivy championship by winning their remaining five matches, including a season-ending bout with the Tigers on Nov. 17 at Princeton.
Scouting the Lions
Columbia is playing well coming into the weekend having won five of its last seven Ivy matches. The Lions are led on offense by sophomore Megan Gaughn. She leads the team with 3.74 kills per set, including 21 two weeks ago versus Penn. Freshman Madeline Rumer is second at 2.47 while junior Monique Roberts is third with 2.42 kills per set. Roberts also leads the team hitting at a .337 clip. Defensively, freshman Katherine Keller leads the squad with 4.59 digs per set and Gaughn is second at 3.25. At the net, Savannah Fletcher leads the team with 1.15 blocks per set and Roberts is second at 1.09.
Scouting the Big Red
Cornell is looking to avoid its second straight three-set loss to the Quakers this season. To do so they'll have to get improved play from the offense. Junior Kelly Hansen is hitting .260 and leads the team with 2.70 kills per set. Freshman Janel Forte is second at 2.22 while hitting .212. Defensively the Big Red average 2.16 blocks per set, with junior Madeleine Przbyl leading the regulars with .95 blocks per set. Sophomore Alice Cope is second at .87. Junior Risa Ka'awa leads the team with 3.88 digs per set while sophomore Taylor Nieman is right behind her with 3.29 digs per set.
Following the Red and Blue
Quaker fans can follow all the action through live stats (click here) or a webcast (click here).
On Saturday, seniors Britt Danneman, Nicole DeCuir, Emily Ettel, Julia Swanson, Megan Tryon and Madison Wojciechowski all play their final match at the Palestra. The six have been a part of 64 victories with the Red and Blue and also helped the volleyball team to an impressive 39-12 mark within Ivy play, including the program's ninth Ivy League Championship in 2009.
Wojciechowski is current averaging 5.836 digs per set, second only to Taylor Root of Valparaiso who leads the nation with 5.843 per set. As a team the Quakers are currently ranked 11th in the country, with 17.76 digs per set. They are one of four Ivy teams in the top 15, along with Yale (1), Dartmouth (7) and Princeton (14).
Amanda Pacheco leads the Ivy League in hitting at .357 while freshman Susan Stuecheli is eighth at .291 ... Megan Tryon leads the league averaging 10.49 assists per set ... Madison Wojciechowski leads the Ivies with 5.84 digs per set ... Senior Julia Swanson is fifth in the Ancient Eight at 3.18 kills per set and Lauren Martin is seventh with 2.85 ... Stuecheli is seventh with .92 blocks per set.
Over the weekend, Penn improved to 11-2 when holding opponents to hitting .200 or less. The Quakers' lone losses came in five-set defeats at the hands of Villanova and Princeton. Conversely, the Red and Blue are 0-7 when allowing an opponent to hit over .200.
Can You Dig It?
Wojciechowski recorded double-digit digs in both matches over the weekend, extending her streak of matches with at least ten digs to a school-record 30 matches. Overall she has recorded double-digit digs in 93 of 101 career matches.
Pacheco's .357 hitting percentage in 2010 is the best for a Quaker since Linda Zhang hit .404 in 2004. This season she has at least ten kills and a .400 hitting percentage on seven occasions. Her 2.51 kills per set are good for third on the team and her 186 total kills are more than triple her total from last season (50). Pacheco's 12 solo blocks are also the most in a season since Natalie Drucker has 12 in 2006.
Second to One
Senior Julia Swanson moved into second place on the program's all-time kill list over the weekend with 1,144 kills. She passed Melissa Ingalls (1,129) and sits behind former All-American Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan. Swanson also has 996 career digs, putting her in position to finish her career as just one of three Penn volleyball players with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.
2K and Beyond
Wojciechowski's 39 digs over the weekend bring her school-record total to 2,001 digs, becoming the just second Ivy player with 2,000 career digs. Former Cornell standout Megan Mushovic holds the Ivy record with 2,040 digs.
Senior Megan Tryon is finding herself moving up the Quakers' all-time assists list. With her 60 assists over the weekend she now has 3,482, trailing Christine Dingivan (3,494) for third all-time. Former Penn standouts Jodie Antypas (3,545) and Heather Glick (3,582) are first and second all-time.