PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers open NCAA Tournament play on Friday when they take on Army on the campus of Penn State in Rec Hall, on Friday at 5:00 p.m.
Penn has had two weeks off since playing its last regular season match, a 3-1 victory over Princeton on November 18, but expects to be ready when it takes on an Army squad which is having one of the best seasons in school history.
The Black Knights are 26-5 this year and have won four straight and 18 of 20. The top seed in the Patriot League tournament, Army won both its matches in the tournament in straight sets. The Black Knights took care of Lehigh and then second seeded American to clinch the title. Senior setter Maureen Bannon was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after averaging 11.83 assists per set, 2 digs per set and totaling seven service aces.
Freshman Ariana Mankus was also instrumental for the Black Knights in the final, as she hit .500 with 18 kills with zero errors against American. The Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Year, Mankus leads the team with 3.71 kills per set and is second on the team, hitting .299. She also is third on the team averaging 2.75 digs per set. Junior Amanda Rowell leads the team with a .320 hitting percentage this season and is also fourth on the team with 2.37 kills per set; however, her biggest impact is on defense where she has 21 solo blocks and 104 total blocks on the year.
The Quakers meanwhile, are led by a quartet of first-team All-Ivy selections. Senior Elizabeth Semmens, the Ivy League Player of the Year, leads the team with 3.88 kills per set and is second with 2.93 digs per set. Freshman Lauren Martin, the Ivy Rookie of the Year, is averaging 3.67 kills per set and is hitting a team-high .316. Setter Megan Tryon is averaging 11.96 assists per set, helping the Quakers to14.64 kills per set, good 10th in the nation. On defense, junior Madison Wojciechowski leads the team with 5.55 digs per set, and over her last three matches has upped it to 6.77 digs per set.
A free radio broadcast of the match will be available through Army's radio station, ITT Knight Vision. To gain access to the broadcast click here. There will also be live stats and a video feed for the event, though the links won't be available until Friday.
All-session tickets are being sold in advance and will be available through noon on Friday. All-session passes can be purchased for $14 for adults/seniors and $8 for youth. Single-session tickets can be purchased at Rec Hall only the day of each match and the price will be $8 for adults/seniors and $5 for students/youth.
Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 1-800-NITTANY.
Ivy League Champs
Penn won its first Ivy League championship in six years with a 13-1 league mark in 2009. The championship was the program's eighth and first since winning back-to-back-to-back titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
NCAA Tournament Play
Penn is making its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2003. The Quakers are 0-3 in their Tournament history with losses to Pittsburgh (3-1, 2003), Penn State (3-0, 2002) and UCLA (3-0, 2001), all of which have come in University Park.
The Quakers are currently ranked in the top ten in multiple statistical categories. Penn is 10th in the country averaging 14.64 kills per set and eighth in assists per set (13.69). The Red and Blue are also 11th in the nation with 17.87 digs per set.
Tryon is ranked seventh in the country averaging 11.96 assists per set. Over her last five matches she has upped the number to 13.71 per set, including a career-high 68 in a match against Harvard (11/13).
Second To One
Tyron's 53 assists against Princeton (11/18) in the season finale gave her 1,244 on the season. The total is the second highest single-season total in school history and just 32 short of matching Meghan Schloat's 2003 record of 1,276.
In Penn's regular season finale against Princeton (11/18), Wojciechowski had 21 digs, giving her 1,534 for her career. Her total broke the school record of 1,525 set in 2005 by Cara Thomason.