PHILADELPHIA Fresh off a pair of sweeps last weekend against Dartmouth and Harvard, and possessing a three-match win streak, Penn enters Homecoming Weekend hoping to continue its winning ways against Columbia and Cornell in The Palestra.
The Quakers now stand at 8-11 overall with a 4-3 record in the Ivy League. They sit in fourth place in the Ancient Eight, a game and a half behind the third-place Big Red, who are 6-2 in league play and 7-11 overall. Columbia enters the weekend 5-12 and is 0-8 in the league.
Penn split its earlier meetings with its weekend opponents, falling to Cornell in Ithaca, 3-1, on Oct. 10 and defeating the Lions in New York City on Oct. 11, 3-0.
In the loss to Cornell, the Quakers hung tough in the first two sets, dropping the two by a combined five points before tightening the match with a 25-21 win in the third set. The Red and Blue ran out of steam in the fourth set, losing 25-16 to drop the match. Julia Swanson (15) and Anne Magnuson (12) each had double-digits in kills for the Quakers. Both teams were error-prone at the net, as each team hit under .200 with Penn only hitting at a .103 clip in the match.
The Quakers rebounded nicely the next day, regrouping for a sweep of the Lions in the Big Apple. Penn jumped out quickly with a 25-16 win in the first set, before claiming the second set 25-21. The third set saw Penn cruise to the win, 25-11. In the win, the Red and Blue were much cleaner on the attack, committing only 13 errors and hitting .289 as a team. Swanson was particularly efficient, committing only one error on 20 attacks and picking up 11 kills. Kathryn Turner added eight kills. Penn did a good job of neutralizing Columbia’s Amalia Viti, the league leader in kills. She picked up 10 kills in match, but also was tagged with 10 errors.
Columbia has just one win in its last 11 games, a 3-1 victory over NJIT Oct. 22. Viti still leads the Ivies in kills with 280. Swanson is second with 243.
A key matchup in Saturday’s match with Cornell will be at the libero spot. The two top liberos in the conference will be in action as Penn’s Madison Wojciechowski and Cornell’s Megan Mushovic do battle. Mushovic leads the Ivy League in digs with 411 while Wojciechowski sits second with 336. Another defensive stalwart for the Big Red is Kelly Hansen. The freshman middle blocker stands 6-4 and has picked up 85 blocks this season.
The action begins on Friday against Columbia at 7 p.m. Saturday’s match with Cornell has a start time of 4 p.m. Both matches this weekend will be webcasted live over www.PennAthletics.com.