PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's volleyball team puts its unbeaten conference record on the line when it makes its final road trip of the season, traveling to Columbia on Friday and then squaring off against Cornell on Saturday.
The Quakers look to improve on their 9-0 conference mark and move closer to their first conference championship since 2003. However, to do so they must sweep Columbia and Cornell on the road, something they have only done once since 2002.
The Red and Blue are coming off a weekend that saw them take the drivers seat in the Ivy League, beating second place Yale 3-1 and then taking down Brown in four sets. Against Yale, the Quakers dropped the first set 25-23, but came back to take the last three 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21. Lauren Martin had a team-high 21 kills in the win, while senior Elizabeth Semmens added 18 kills and 16 digs.
On Saturday against Brown, Penn took the first two sets before stumbling in the third set 28-26. The Quakers came back to take the final set 25-18. Martin was once again strong with 15 kills, but it was the play of junior Megan Tryon that stood out as she was all over the place with 45 assists, 18 digs, three kills, three total blocks and two service aces.
Scouting the Lions
The Red and Blue hosted Columbia less than two weeks ago and dispatched of the Lions in three sets, 25-16, 25-22, and 25-17. There were just three lead changes in the entire match, as Penn hit a season high .352 with 52 digs, while Columbia had just 29 digs and a .182 attack percentage. Four players had at least nine kills for Penn, led by Semmens with 14. Looking to this weekend, the Lions hope to get freshman Megan Graughn going, as she had just seven kills against the Quakers, but is currently second in the conference averaging 4.01 kills per set.
Scouting the Big Red
The Red and Blue venture up to Ithaca on Saturday, looking for the season sweep after going 1-1 against Cornell last season. Two weeks ago Penn handled the Big Red with little difficulty, winning 25-16, 25-16, 25-19. The Quakers hit only .236 in the match, but held Cornell to just a .081 attack percentage as no player hit over .300 for the team. Semmens was once again a bright spot for Penn as she had 11 kills and 12 digs in the win. The Big Red looks to snap its four game losing streak this weekend and will rely on the play of Deveny Pula, who averages a team-high 2.96 kills per set, and is second on the team with 2.61 digs per set.
Following the Quakers
Fans of the Red and Blue can follow the volleyball on Friday night vs Columbia using live stats (click here), or watching the webcast (click here). On Saturday against Cornell, live stats are available by clicking here and video is availableas well(click here).
Junior Megan Tryon was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her play last weekend. It's her first such award and she is the second Quaker in three weeks to receive the honor. Lauren Martin was also honored by the Ivy League, as she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. It's the third time this year she has received the honor.
Penn, as a team, is nationally ranked in multiple statistical categories. The Quakers are 12th in the country in kills per set (14.39), despite the fact they don't have anyone in the top 75 individually. The Red and Blue are also 13th in assists per set (13.45) and digs per set (17.67). Additionally, the team's .818 winning percentage is 20th in the country.
Setter Megan Tryon leads the conference with 11.52 assists per set, which is also good for 12th in the entire country. In Ivy play her numbers are even better, averaging 12.52 assists per set. Tryon's 12 service aces in conference play are also tops in the Ancient Eight.
Best Weekend Ever
Coming off one of her best weekends, Madison Wojciechowski has moved up to ninth in the country, averaging 5.42 digs per set. The junior had 31 digs against Brown for her fourth 30 dig performance of the season and the seventh of her career. She also added ten assists against the Bears, for her first career double-double.
Lauren Martin is the only athlete in the top five in both kills per set and attack percentage. Martin is third in the conference, hitting .318 and fourth with 3.63 kills per set. In Ivy play she has improved even more, hitting .349, good for second, and averaging 4.03 kills per set, good for third.
The Quakers are a perfect 7-0 on the road this season. In their seven matches, the team is hitting .222 and holding opponents to a .146 attack percentage. They are also 6-1 in the first set of those matches.
By The Numbers
- Penn has dropped just six sets in its nine Ivy matches thus far.
- The Quakers are 15-0 when they win the second set of their matches
- Penn has hit over .200 in each Ivy matches this season, while holding all nine of its opponents under .200.
- The Red and Blue have at least 15 more digs than its opponent in each of its last five matches.
- Two wins this weekend would give Penn its first 20 win season since 2003 and put the Quakers within one game of capturing at least a share of the Ivy title.
- One win this weekend would put the Quakers within two games of capturing at least a share of the Ivy title.