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PHILADELPHIA – In hopes of continuing its six-match win streak, the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team returns to The Palestra for one last weekend stand. With second place in the Ivy League on the line, the Quakers (14-9 overall, 8-4 Ivy) will first host Brown Friday night before battling Ivy League champions Yale, in their final match of the season.
A live video feed for the matches on Friday and Saturday will be provided by the Ivy League Digital Network. Four packages are available to purchase, including a $9.95/day pass for everything Penn. See http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com/packages for full details.
You can also follow all the action on live stats by clicking here.
Links for the video stream and stats can also be found on the Penn volleyball schedule.
Previously on the Court
Currently tied for second place with Harvard in the standings, Penn is on a season-high six-match winning streak after a second consecutive weekend sweep with wins over Dartmouth, 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-13) and Harvard, 3-2 (17-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 18-16). After dropping the first set on Friday, the Red and Blue went on to win the next three by at least five points, including a 12-point margin of victory in the decisive fourth set.
Two Quakers dished out double-doubles, senior captain Kristen Etterbeek (13 kills, 10 digs) and sophomore Alexis Genske (13 kills, 12 digs), while sophomores Alex Caldwell and Ronnie Bither were the offense's main distributors with 26 and 25 assists, respectively. Senior libero Dani Shepherd led the team with 28 digs.
The following night, Penn avenged an earlier loss to Harvard with a five-set barnburner to tie the Crimson for second place. After splitting each of the first four sets, the Quakers were down to their last point on three separate occasions in the fifth set before storming back to win on Bither's service ace. Reaching a single-match high in kills with 20 was Genske, who also recorded the most kills by a Quaker in a match this season. The 33 kills Genske totaled this weekend paved the way to her earning Co-Ivy League Player of the Week honors.
Scouting the Bears (11-12 overall, 7-5 Ivy)
Brown arrives at The Palestra on a winning streak of its own, recording three straight victories over Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia -- two via shutout. Only a game behind Penn and Harvard, the Bears certainly will come out swinging with an outside shot at a three-way tie for second place on the line.
Last Friday against Cornell, Brown was dominant in the first two sets, winning 25-20 and 25-16 before dropping two straight to require a decisive fifth set. Despite the Big Red’s best effort to come back, the Bears were simply too much, taking the set and the match.
Saturday, the Bears recorded their second shutout in three matches, topping Columbia on Senior Day 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-23). Three different Bears -- Alexandra Rieckhoff, Maddie Lord, and Amanda Nickel -- recorded double-digit kills while Kathryn Conner led the defense with 16 digs.
Scouting the Bulldogs (17-4 overall, 11-1 Ivy)
Despite a weekend’s worth of matches left, Yale already clinched the Ivy League title outright, for the third year in a row, last weekend by sweeping Columbia and Cornell in shutout fashion.
In Friday’s sweep (25-19, 25-11, 25-20), the Bulldogs’ stifling defense didn't allow a single Columbia player to record double-digit kills, while senior Kendall Polan totaled a staggering 40 assists in the match, which totals 26 more than any other player on either team.
Yale continued its excellent play on Saturday downing Cornell, 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-14), with junior Mollie Rogers recording her second double-double (16 kills, 11 digs) en route to earning Co-Ivy League Player of the Week honors.
Co-Ivy Players of the Week Battle at The Palestra
After each of their teams’ weekend sweeps, Penn’s Alexis Genske and Yale’s Mollie Rogers split the Ivy League Player of the Week honor. The two outside hitters will meet face to face in the last match of the season on Saturday.
Rogers, the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, became the fifth Bulldog this season to earn a weekly honor from the conference.
For the first time in her career, Genske earned Player of the Week and also became the first member of the Red and Blue to take home hardware from the Ivy League this season.
This weekend marks the final time that Penn’s three seniors, Dani Shepherd, Kristen Etterbeek and Susan Stuecheli, will take the court wearing a Quaker uniform. Over their four years, the Red and Blue combined to go 54-46, including a 34-20 mark in Ivy League play.
Stuecheli, a middle blocker from Troy, Michigan, earned honorable mention All-Ivy honors last season and will finish her Penn career with over 600 kills.
Etterbeek, an outside hitter from Holland, Michigan, leads the team in kills this season and has eclipsed both 20 kills and 20 digs in a single game.
Shepherd, a libero from Los Angeles, California, is a two-time first team All-Ivy performer and was the 2012 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, she led all of Division I in digs per set (6.56).