PHILADELPHIA Preseason is over for Penn volleyball as the first serve of the 2008 campaign is a day away. The Quakers will welcome Fairfield and Bowling Green to The Palestra for a doubleheader on Friday. The Red and Blue square off with the Stags at 10 a.m. and take on the Falcons at 1 p.m.
While the matches will be Penn’s first of the season, both of its opponents have already seen game action in 2008. Fairfield enters the match with a 1-1 record, having defeated Hofstra, 3-2, before losing to Seton Hall, 3-0. The Falcons have a 2-1 record after winning the Florida State Invitational last weekend. In Tallahassee, Bowling Green sandwiched wins over Stetson and Florida A&M around a loss to the host Seminoles.
Head coach Kerry Carr and her team are ready to get the season started.
“We are ready to see some unfamiliar faces on the other side of the net,” she said. “We have seen enough of each other in practice. These are two quality teams who each have wins on the season and play at a high level. These will be good challenges for us early in the season.”
The matches will be the first official contests of any sport to be played on The Palestra’s new floor. That fact is not lost on Carr.
“We love the new floor,” she said. “We have had a chance to work on it all preseason so it is ready for match play. It looks great and we are excited to play on it.”
Some things to think about entering the first weekend of action...The Quakers are coming off a 2007 season that saw them finish with a 17-9 record and a 10-4 mark in Ivy League play good enough for a tie for second place. In 2007, Penn was 7-3 on its home court. Penn held statistical advantages in most major categories as a team in 2007. The Red and Blue had more kills-per-game, assists-per-game, aces-per-game, digs-per-game, blocks-per-game and less errors-per-game than opposing teams. Penn returns the 2007 Ivy League Rookie of the Year in Julia Swanson. The sophomore outside hitter, who was also honorable mention All-Ivy was twice named Ivy Rookie of the Week. She led the Quakers in kills with 298. She also had 53 blocks. Another sophomore, Madison Wojciechowski is looking to build on her freshman campaign that saw her set the school record for digs in a season with 457, which is 21 more than the previous high. Natalie Drucker returns after leading the Red and Blue in total blocks in 2007 with 99.