If the Princeton women's volleyball team was looking for an opportunity to make a major statement in the Ivy League, it will have that opportunity this weekend. The Tigers share second place in the league with a 2-1 mark, and they will hit the road to play one team that shares second (Brown), and the only unbeaten in league play (Yale).
|Princeton (6-7, 2-1 Ivy) at Brown (6-8, 2-1)
|Princeton (6-7, 2-1 Ivy) at Yale (9-3, 3-0)
Princeton enters the weekend in a three-way tie for second place with a 2-1 league mark. One of the teams with the same record is Brown, and those two teams will meet at the Pizzitola Center Friday night at 7 pm.
Princeton has controlled this series of late, winning each of the last 13 matches, but this may be the best Brown squad that the Tigers have seen during that era. Brown showed plenty of resolve last weekend with 3-2 victories against both Harvard and Dartmouth, and the Bears rank among the top of the league standings in both service aces and hitting percentage. Junior Maddie Lord leads the team with more than three kills per set, while junior Kathryn Conner has 3.58 digs per set.
While Brown is highly improved, Yale remains the league favorite after a perfect 14-0 league run last year. The Bulldogs leads the league in kills, assists and aces, and it has both the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year (senior Kendall Polan) and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year (sophomore Kelly Johnson. The Bulldogs have yet to lose a set in Ivy League play, and the opposing team has reached 20 points in only two of nine sets.
Princeton will head into the weekend off the momentum of both a 3-1 victory Saturday evening at Columbia, as well as the continued impressive play of a mostly young roster. Princeton has earned the Ivy League Rookie of the Week honor in back-to-back weeks with different players (Lauren Miller and, most recently, Cara Mattaliano), and sophomore starter Kendall Peterkin was named Ivy League Player of the Week after a 3-2 win over Penn. Peterkin leads the Ivy League in both kills (3.7 per set) and points (4.3).
While several underclassmen have played big roles already in Ivy play, the junior middle duo of Tiana Woolridge and Nicole Kincade have also stood tall (figuratively and literally). Woolridge leads the Ivy League in hitting percentage (.404), while Kincade's 1.54 blocks per set in Ivy matches is also a league best.