PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers look to continue their perfect run in the Ancient Eight this weekend when they host Harvard on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Dartmouth Saturday at 4 p.m.
Penn is 11-0 in the conference and has clinched a share of the Ivy League title, the team's first since 2003. A win on either Friday or Saturday would give them sole possession of the Ivy crown and an automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Two wins this weekend would also put the Red and Blue on the verge of becoming just the second school to go 14-0 in conference play.
Last Time Out
Last Friday The Quakers beat Columbia in three sets, 25-18, 25-14 and 25-21 with a balanced scoring attack as four different players hit over .300, led by Ashley Hawkins who hit .385 with six kills and two block assists. Penn also out dug the Lions 58-47. On Saturday, the Red and Blue needed all five sets to take down Cornell. Penn hit .114 in dropping the first two sets 25-22, 25-21. In the third set, the Quakers were on the verge of defeat, going down 23-20 before five straight points won it, 25-23. The victory brought the Red and Blue back to life, as the team hit .365 over the final two sets, winning 25-21 and 15-12 to take the match 3-2.
Harvard currently sits tied for fourth in the Ancient Eight, having won four of its last six matches since losing to Penn. Additionally, both losses have come at the hands of Yale. Last weekend the Crimson lost to Yale 3-2 before sweeping Brown 3-0 on Saturday. In the first meeting between the teams this season, Harvard gave Penn a tough match, in falling to the Quakers 25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16. Senior Elizabeth Semmens had the match of her life, recording a career-high 26 kills to go along with 14 digs while hitting a season-high .373. For the Crimson, sophomore Anne Ingersoll hit just .100 with seven kills but made her presence felt on the defensive end with seven total blocks. Mikaelle Comrie led Harvard with 15 kills in the loss.
Aboutthe Big Green
Dartmouth shares fourth place in the Ivy League standings with Harvard, having won four straight matches, including a four set win over Yale last Saturday. The Big Green became the first Ivy team other than Penn to beat Yale in the last two years with the win. Dartmouth upset the Bulldogs behind sophomores Madeline Baird, Annie Villanueva and senior Megan MacGregor. The three combined for 41 of the Big Green's 58 kills, while Baird and MacGregor had 23 and 22 digs respectively and Villanueva added six total blocks. In Dartmouth's last match against Penn, the Quakers won 3-1 by scores of 25-23, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-18. Elizabeth Semmens had 17 kills and 16 digs, while the Red and Blue held the trio of Baird, Villanueva and MacGregor to 26 kills and a .141 attack percentage.
Following the Red And Blue
Fans of the Penn volleyball can follow the matches on live stats by clicking here for either match. To access the webcast for either match, click here.
Penn's Ivy title is the eighth in the program's history and the fourth under head coach Kerry Carr. Carr's four titles are the most by any Penn volleyball coach, and her 194 victories rank second in program history behind Joe Sagula's 203 wins. The Quakers' eight Ivy crowns are the second highest total in conference history, trailing only Princeton's 14.
20 Years In The Making
During Saturday's match against Dartmouth, members of the 1989 Penn women's volleyball team will be honored on the 20th anniversary of their Ivy League championship, the fourth in the program's history.
For the second time this season, senior Elizabeth Semmens has been honored by the Ivy League. She was named the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week after averaging 3.62 kills per set and 4.50 digs per set in leading Penn to victories over Columbia and Cornell.
A Total Team Effort
Penn is ranked in the top two in five statistical categories in Ivy play, despite the fact that only one Quaker (Megan Tryon) is first on any of the lists. The Red and Blue are first in opponent attack percentage (.148), assists (14.61) and kills (15.39), and are second in attack percentage (.246) and digs (18.61).
Penn is ranked 13th in the country in assists per set, dishing out 13.47 per set. Setter Megan Tryon is the main reason for the high number as she averages 11.64 assists per set, good for 11th nationally.
Killing 'Em Softly
The Quakers are ranked first in the conference, averaging 14.42 kills per set. That number is the 12th highest average in the country. Penn is also the only conference team with three players ranked in the top ten in kills per set, with Elizabeth Semmens fourth (3.74), Lauren Martin sixth (3.56) and Julia Swanson ninth (3.15).
Lauren Martin is the only player in Ivy play who is ranked in the top ten in both attack percentage and kills per set. Martin is hitting .316 in conference play, good for fourth, and also is sixth with 3.74 kills per set. Megan Tryon is tied for second in the Ancient Eight with 13 service aces.
Can You Dig It?
Penn is 12th in the country and third in the Ancient Eight averaging 17.71 digs per set. Junior Madison Wojciechowski leads the defense with 5.37 digs per set, good for first in the conference and 13th in the country. Elizabeth Semmens is second with 2.89 digs per set while senior Mary Russell is third with 2.41.
Madison Wojciechowski needs just 34 digs this weekend to break her own record of 511 digs in a season, a mark which she set last year. Additionally, the junior needs 79 more digs to break Penn's record for digs in a career, held by Cara Thompson (1,525).
By The Numbers
- The Quakers are 4-0 against Ivy opponents at the Palestra this season, their best record since going 7-0 in 2003.
- Penn has beat Harvard the last seven times they have played eachother.
- The Quakers are 16-0 when they win the second set of their matches.
- Penn has hit over .200 in each Ivy match this season, while holding ten out of 11 of its opponents under .200.
- Two wins this weekend would give Penn a 13 match win streak, its longest since a school-record 17 match win streak in 1982.
- One win this weekend would give the Quakers their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003, when they lost to Pittsburgh in the first round.