PHILADELPHIA - Fresh off clinching a share of the program's second straight Ivy League championship, the Penn volleyball team must travel up to New Haven, Sunday at 1 p.m. to battle Yale for the right to represent the Ivy League in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers come into the match at 16-10, winners in 12 of their past 13 matches, with the only blemish being a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Yale three weeks ago. The Bulldogs are 18-7 overall and riding a ten-game win streak since falling to both Penn and Princeton in early October.
Last Time Out
Penn captured a share of its second straight Ivy League title on Wednesday night by defeating Princeton 25-23, 25-27, 24-26, 29-27 and 16-14 in a marathon match. Down two sets to one, the Quakers fought off three match points in the fourth set and then one more in the fifth set to earn the come-from-behind victory. Four players had double-figure kills for the Red and Blue while five reached double-figure digs.
About the Bulldogs
This season Yale has been the post potent offense, and one of the strongest defenses in the league. Within Ivy play, the Bulldogs lead the league in kills per set (14.62), assists (13.74), digs (20.26), and hitting percentage (.237). Yale features a three-headed attack with junior Bridget Hearst (3.51), freshmen Erica Reetz (3.08) and Haley Wessels (2.44) each averaging over 2.5 kills per set. Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Kendall Polan averages 1.78 kills per set while also serving as the team's primary setter, dishing out 9.20 assists per set. Defensively, senior Kelly Ozuovich leads the team with 5.39 digs per set and junior Katie Cordell is second with 3.80. At the net, freshman McHaney Carter averages a team-best .91 blocks per set while the team averages 1.97.
Following the Red and Blue
There is a multitude of ways to follow the Quakers on Sunday. Fans can watch the match on Yale's webcast (click here), view live stats (click here) or follow along with a live blog.
The Quakers captured their second straight Ivy League championship on Wednesday with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Princeton. Penn tailed 2-1 but took the final two sets, 29-27 and 16-14 to capture a share of the program's 10th Ivy championship. The team also went back-to-back when the Quakers won titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The ten titles are the second most in Ivy history, behind Princeton's 14.
Wake up Call
The Red and Blue have won five straight since their 3-0 loss to Yale dropped them to 7-2 in the Ivy League. Since the defeat, senior Julia Swanson has taken her game to the next level. The outside hitter has taken over, averaging 4.30 digs, 4.20 kills and .90 blocks per set over that stretch. As the team the Penn defense has been a revelation, averaging 20.10 digs and 2.65 blocks per set. Wojciechowski (5.10), Swanson (4.30), Megan Tryon (2.90) and Logan Johnson (2.75) have been strong in the back, while Susan Stuecheli (1.60), Amanda Pacheco (1.00), Swanson (.90) and Martin (.80) have been a force at the net.
The Kerry Carr Era
The Red and Blue's win over Princeton gave head coach Kerry Carr her fifth Ivy title at the helm of the Red and Blue. It is the most in Penn volleyball history for a coach and the most by any volleyball program in the Ivy League since Carr came to Penn in 1998. Carr's five Ivy titles also break a tie with head women's lacrosse coach Karin Brower Corbett for the second most of any current head coach at Penn. Head football coach Al Bagnoli is tops on the list after winning his eighth Ivy title over the weekend.
The volleyball team's win on Wednesday continued a run of unprecedented success at Penn this fall. They became the fourth different team to capture an Ivy League title this fall, as women's soccer, football and sprint football all claimed league titles. Men's soccer also played well finishing second in the Ancient Eight and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament. It is the first time in school history four fall teams have won league titles and the first time overall since 2007, when men's golf, men's tennis, women's tennis and women's lacrosse were all Ivy champions.
Amanda Pacheco leads the Ivy League in hitting at .347 while freshman Susan Stuecheli is fifth at .293 ... Megan Tryon leads the league averaging 10.62 assists per set ... Madison Wojciechowski leads the Ivies with 5.68 digs per set ... Senior Julia Swanson is fifth in the Ancient Eight at 3.40 kills per set and Lauren Martin is seventh with 2.92 ... Stuecheli is third with 1.03 blocks per set.
Over the weekend, Penn improved to 16-2 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 0-8 when allowing an opponent to hit over .200.
Can You Dig It?
Wojciechowski recorded a season-high 36 digs against Princeton, tied for the third highest total of her career. It also extended her streak of matches with at least ten digs to a school-record 35 matches. Overall she has recorded double-digit digs in 99 of 106 career matches. Additionally, her 528 digs this season are the second highest single-season total in school history, just trailing her 2009 total of 607.
Penn recorded a season-high 15 total blocks on Wednesday against Princeton. It is the most for the Quakers since they record 15 against Harvard, Nov. 7, 2008. Susan Stuecheli led the defensive charge with eight total blocks, her third match with at least eight total blocks. Her 83 block assists on the season are the most since Natalie Drucker had 91 in 2007, and the second highest total in the last decade.