While there will be four more Ivy League games remaining after this weekend, plenty will be sorted out by Saturday night in the women's volleyball race. Co-leaders Princeton and Yale face tough road trips, including a daunting Dartmouth-Harvard swing for the surging Tigers.
Princeton currently stands at 14-6 overall, 7-1 in the Ivy League, and has won a league-best four consecutive matches. It is coming off an impressive 3-0 sweep of Penn at The Palestra, only Princeton's second road sweep of Penn in the last decade. That effort began a five-match road trip on the right foot, but the Tigers know that plenty more work will need to be done.
The Tigers will open their weekend at Dartmouth Friday night against a Big Green team that is fighting to stay alive in the league race. Dartmouth is currently 4-4 and took Princeton five sets in Dillon Gym before falling 3-2. The match will feature the league's top three leaders in kills; Princeton junior Lydia Rudnick leads the Ivy League with 3.72 kills per set, while Dartmouth senior Madeline Baird ranks second with 3.61 per set. Princeton senior tri-captain Cathryn Quinn ranks third in the league in kills (3.72), though she ranks first in total points (4.43).
On Saturday, Princeton heads to Harvard, which has won two straight at home over the Tigers. Harvard is also coming off an impressive 3-0 victory against Columbia, which knocked the Lions out of first place. The Crimson, which fell in a 3-2 thriller at Princeton, leads the Ivy League in service aces with 1.3 per set and has the second-ranked libero in the league in senior Christine Wu (5.51 digs per set).
While Princeton will be navigating one road trip, co-Ivy leader Yale will be traveling as well. The Bulldogs have the New York trip, which opens Friday night against Columbia. The Lions rallied from 2-0 down at Yale to force a fifth set before ultimately losing, and they could maintain control of their place in the race with a home win. Regardless of what happens with both Princeton and Yale, Columbia would earn at least a share of the Ivy League title if it wins out.
If both Princeton and Yale take care of business this weekend, it would set up a huge match Saturday, Nov. 5, in New Haven. But winning on the road in the Ivy League is never easy, and there is a long way to go before either can even think about that match.