The Princeton women's volleyball team will know by late Friday night whether it's out front in the 2011 Ivy League championship chase, or if it's in a deep hole. The lone Ivy unbeaten, Yale, will open a key home Ivy League weekend Friday at 7 in Dillon Gym.
Princeton comes into the weekend with an 11-6 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the Ivy League. That Ivy record puts Princeton in a second-place tie with Columbia, which swept the Tigers 3-0 at Levien Gym in New York City last Friday.
Both Princeton and Columbia have at least a two-match edge on everybody below them in the standings, but they each only look up at one team. Yale, winner of two of the last three Ivy League titles, is currently 5-0 in Ivy play and 11-4 overall.
Princeton hosts Yale Friday at 7 p.m., and will conclude the weekend against Brown Saturday at 4 p.m. Following the Brown match, Princeton will play five straight Ivy matches on the road, including a Nov. 5 match at Yale.
Princeton is led by its All-Ivy middle Cathryn Quinn, who leads the Ivy League in points with 4.33 per set. Quinn's versatility is evident in the Ivy League statistics, where she ranks in the Top 6 in kills (3rd, 3.44), blocks (5th, 1.03), hitting percentage (6th, .308) and service aces (6th, .29).
Her fellow All-Ivy teammate, Lydia Rudnick, seemed to get back on track last weekend. She is third in the Ivy League in total points with 3.84 per set, but her play was elevated during Princeton's first Ivy League road trip. She averaged 16 kills per set, and she will need similar effective hitting this weekend.
Yale has had the upper hand recently in this series, winning five of six. Princeton picked up its lone win over Yale during that stretch in a home match last season, when Quinn and Rudnick combined for 26 kills in a 3-1 victory. Princeton rightside Jennifer Palmquist had one of her best matches that day, recording 12 kills with only one error.
The Bulldogs are led by reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Taylor Cramm, who ranks second in the Ivy League with a .392 attack percentage, and Kendall Polan, who leads the Ivy League with 10.4 assists per set. This will be Yale's first Ivy League road match of the season; the Bulldogs won four of their first five by 3-0 scores and survived a Columbia rally for a 3-2 victory in the fifth.
Brown, which will play at Penn Friday night, is currently 5-11 overall and 1-4 in the Ivy League. Freshman Maddie Lord have given the Bears a spark and leads the Ivy League with 3.52 kills per set.