As Tigers Prepare For Penn Match, Ginny Willis Provides Midseason Update
The Princeton women's volleyball team opens a crucial five-match homestand Friday night against Penn to open Alumni Weekend on campus. While the Tigers are looking ahead to the second half of the league season, All-Ivy setter Ginny Willis gives a midseason report on the 2012 Tigers (see link above).
Princeton is currently 9-8 overall, 6-1 in Ivy League play, and enters the weekend one match behind reigning champion Yale. If the Tigers can hold serve through the first four matches of its homestand, they would earn a chance to battle for first place against the Bulldogs on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m.
But there is a long way to go before Princeton can even think about that, especially since the first step involves local rival Penn. The Quakers have been one of Princeton's toughest opponents over the last five years, and Penn held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the Ivy League opener at the Palestra before Princeton came back for a 3-2 win.
The Quakers are led by junior libero Dani Shepherd, who has run away from the pack in terms of dig totals. Shepherd leads the league with 6.6 digs per set, while nobody else in the Ivies averages more than 4.8. As a team, Penn is averaging 21.5 digs per set, and it has used that defensive strength to move into third place in the league.
"Penn is a very tough team to play against because they make you work for every point," head coach Sabrina King said. "It may take two or three more swings than usual to put a ball down, so we need to stay patient and keep playing our game. Princeton-Penn matches are usually very exciting, and we hope to have a good crowd Friday night for this one."
While Penn has the top defensive team in the league, Princeton has the league's top two players in both kills and points. All-Ivy senior Lydia Rudnick leads in both categories, while freshman Kendall Peterkin is second in both.
Two of the top three in league assist totals will be on the floor Friday night; Willis leads the Ivy League with 10.6 assists per set, while Penn's Ronnie Bither is second with eight assists per set.