Volleyball Heads out for First Ivy Weekend

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team will head to New York this weekend for the first Ivy overnight of 2013. The Quakers will first take on the Lions Friday evening in Levien Gym at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the Red and Blue travel to Ithaca and battle the Big Red in Newman Arena at 5 p.m.

Live Video/Stats

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. Click Here for full details.

You can also follow all the action on live stats:

Columbia Live Stats

Cornell Live Stats

Links for the video stream and stats can also be found on Penn’s volleyball schedule.

Last Time Out

After a 3-2 loss in the Ivy opener at Princeton, the Quakers went back to work this past Monday to conclude non-conference play for 2013. Penn stayed close to home as it travelled north to fellow Big 5 member La Salle. The Explorers were desperately looking to end their 18-match losing streak, and things were looking up for the Blue and Gold when they took set one, 25-21. The Quakers crushed the early La Salle momentum with a set two victory, 25-14. Penn would take the next two sets with matching scores of 25-21, and won, 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-21). The Red and Blue evened their record to 6-6 as they moved forward into full Ivy competition.

Senior captain Kristen Etterbeek topped the board with 14 kills and was followed by freshman Arielle Winfield with 10. Three Quakers posted double digits for the defense: senior captain Dani Shepherd (20 digs), Etterbeek (16), and sophomore Alexis Genske (13).

Scouting the Lions and Big Red

Up first for the Quakers is Columbia, which is coming off a tightly contested five-set loss (25-12, 22-25, 25-22, 26-28, 8-15) to Cornell. For two straight years, the Lions swept the Big Red but were unsuccessful in keeping the streak alive.

Columbia (2-8, 0-1 Ivy) easily shut down Cornell (4-6, 1-0 Ivy) in the first set, taking a 19-10 lead and finishing up 25-12. Set number two did not end as cleanly after the Lions failed to capitalize a 22-19 advantage, allowing the Big Red to score six unanswered points and win, 25-22. Columbia roared back to take set three, 25-23, giving the Lions the edge over Cornell entering halftime. Once again the Lions struggled to seal the deal when ahead, 24-22 losing a lead, and lost set four to the Big Red, 28-26. Cornell didn’t miss a beat in set five as it blazed ahead of Columbia, 15-8.

The Lions’ threats at the net are Lanti Moye-McLaren (124 kills) and Bailey Springer (121 kills). Moye-McLaren proves to be a defensive threat as well with a total of 130 digs, behind leader Molly Winger (144 digs). Also in triple digits is Jennifer Petrovich with 103.

The Big Red’s leaderboard is a stark contrast with one leader in each of the categories: Breanna Wong (126 kills), Sierra Young (17 services aces over 42 SP), Alyssa Phelps (358 assists), Natasha Rowland (197 digs).

Return of the Libero

Senior Dani Shepherd made her return against La Salle after missing two weeks with injury. Before her leave, Shepherd had racked up 104 digs and a 5.78 digs-per-set average after playing in just 18 sets over four matches. The 2012 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year led NCAA Divison I in digs-per-set (6.56) and is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award this year.

Despite missing seven matches, three of them being Penn’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, she returned is as if she hadn’t missed a beat and had been playing this entire time.

Shepherd checked back in as the leader in digs (20) after the match with La Salle. Combined, she is just behind sophomore Alexis Genske (149 digs), who stepped into the libero role in Shepherd's abscence after playing as an outside hitter.

Home Court Advantage

The Quakers will be looking to buck an early trend in the Ivy League this weekend, in the first round of Ivy play as each of the home teams captured wins: Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell.

Penn is currently 3-1 at home and 1-3 on the road.

Last season, the Quakers finished 8-6 at home and 4-5 on the road. The Red and Blue hosted and swept both the Lions and the Big Red in the Palestra. The same could not be said when Penn travelled to the empire state, where the Quakers suffered two, 1-3, losses.