Volleyball Heads to New York for Two

PHILADELPHIA – Penn looks to rebound from a loss in its Ivy League volleyball opener when the Quakers travel to New York for a weekend series against Cornell (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Columbia (Saturday, 4 p.m.).

Penn enters the weekend with a 4-9 overall record. Cornell is 3-8 overall, but is 2-0 in Ivy play with a pair of wins over Columbia to its credit. The Lions post a 5-6 record with a 0-2 mark in the conference.

The Quakers were unable to mount much offense last weekend against Princeton, falling in three sets to the Tigers by scores of 25-16, 25-19 and 25-10. The Red and Blue had trouble at the net, hitting at a .010 percentage and committing 24 attack errors. Julia Swanson, Penn’s leader in kills, will need to regain her form over the course of the weekend in order to jump-start the offense. Kathryn Turner and Ashley Hawkins have been effective on the attack for Penn in recent matches and should open up space for Swanson from the outside hitter spot.

Last season, the Quakers swept the Big Red by matching 3-0 scores. Both matches were closer than the final scores indicated as only two of the six sets were won by more than four points. Swanson had a good series against Cornell, racking up 22 kills in the two matches. Natalie Drucker was key to Penn’s success in the second match, compiling 10 kills on 17 chances while hitting at a .412 clip.

Penn also picked up two shutouts against Columbia last season. The first match was dominated by the Quakers as the Red and Blue won 30-9, 30-21, 30-21. Turner was a force for Penn, finishing the match with 17 kills and zero errors. The second match featured a more balanced attack with four players registering eight or more kills, including Drucker and Anna Shlimak who each had 11.

Some notes entering the weekend...

For the Quakers:

· Penn owns the advantage in the season series with both of this weekend’s opponents. The Red and Blue are 32-20 against Cornell and 41-1 against Columbia. Penn’s lone loss to the Lions came on October 14, 2005 – a 3-2 loss in the Big Apple.

· Kathryn Turner is ninth in the Ivy League in hitting percentage, hitting at .272 with 105 kills on 250 attempts.

· Julia Swanson is third in the League with 146 kills, averaging 3.24 per set.

· Megan Tryon’s 421 assists place her third overall in the Ancient Eight.

For the Big Red:

Cornell leads the Ivies in blocks with 83 total stuffs. Defense is the name of the game for Cornell all around. The Big Red is second in the Ancient Eight in digs with 679 – but tops in digs-per-set at 15.79. Juliana Rogers leads the Big Red in kills with 122. Megan Mushovic leads the conference in digs with 245.

For the Lions:

Amalia Viti is the focal point of Columbia’s offense, leading the Ivy League with 176 kills. Ellie Thomas is dangerous when serving, picking up 16 aces so far in 2008 – tops in the League. The Lions feature two players in the top ten in assists in Marisa Cornejo (218) and Alex Marchyshyn (135).

Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend. Click here for information on the Cornell match and here for information on the Columbia match.

In addition, both matches can be viewed via live streaming on the website of each school for a fee. Click here for Cornell and here for Columbia.