PHILADELPHIA – In a rare one-match weekend for the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team, the Quakers will play host to Princeton on Saturday at 6 p.m. Penn defeated the Tigers (3-1) earlier this season in both team’s Ivy opener at Dillon Gymnasium. Saturday’s tussle with the Tigers will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
The Quakers (9-10, 3-4) are coming off a tough stretch in which they dropped a pair of Ivy matches last weekend. It began with a 3-1 loss to the defending Ivy League champions, Yale, on Friday night and wrapped up with a sweep to Brown on Saturday. The back-to-back losses marked the first time the Red and Blue didn’t split a weekend series since Ivy League play began.
Against the Bulldogs, Penn dropped the first two sets but stormed back in the third -- jumping out to a 9-1 lead and winning the set, 25-18. Although the Quakers dropped the fourth game, they showed tremendous resolve in one of the most thrilling sets of the season.
After Yale jumped out to a 5-0 lead, the Quakers closed quickly to tie the score at 10. Following a Penn timeout at 13-13, Yale rattled off seven points in a row to take a 20-13 lead. The Quakers responded with a 9-1 run of their own to take a 22-21 lead. The Bulldogs, however, rallied to win four of the next five points to take the set, 25-23.
Senior Alexis Genske tallied a team-high 14 kills against Yale, and recorded her third consecutive double-double with 13 digs. Fellow senior Ronnie Bither also notched her third straight double-double with 36 assists and 21 digs. Classmate Michellie McDonald-O’Brien was the most efficient performer for Penn, hitting .375 with 13 kills.
Bither remained one of the top contributors in the loss to Brown, as she extended her double-double streak with 29 assists and 16 digs against the Bears. Genske and McDonald-O’Brien, meanwhile, each chipped in 11 kills. The loss in Providence was just the fourth time Penn has been swept this season and second time in conference play.
Earlier This Season
Genske led the way with 14 kills and 14 digs in a 3-1 win over Princeton on September 25. McDonald-O’Brien hit a team-high .471 with nine kills, while sophomore Kendall Covington tallied 10 kills of her own.
The Quakers battled back from a 22-16 deficit in the fourth set against the Tigers, evading three match points, to take the final frame by a score of 26-24. With the victory, the Quakers began the season 1-0 in the Ivy League for the first time since 2009.
Scouting the Tigers
Princeton (8-8, 3-4) also dropped a contest with Yale last weekend, as part of a Friday-Saturday split. The Tigers preceded the 3-0 loss to the Bulldogs with a five-set victory over Brown on Friday. Junior Brittany Ptak recorded a career-best 17 kills in the win, while Kendall Peterkin added 14 of her own.
Peterkin ranks fifth in the Ivy League in kills this season, averaging 3.17 per set. Junior Cara Mattaliano has also been enjoying a solid campaign for Princeton, compiling averages of 2.82 kills and 3.16 digs per set. The Tigers are currently tied with Penn in the Ivy League standings at 3-4.
Series History: Princeton leads, 46-30.