| The Ivy League Opener: Penn (5-5) at Princeton (4-6)
If you are planning on watching Friday's Ivy League volleyball opener between Penn and Princeton either at Jadwin Gym or over the Ivy League Digital Network, here are two pieces of advice. Expect a wild match, and don't make late plans.
Chances are, this one will go for a while.
One of the best rivalries in the league will serve as the Ivy opener, as both Penn and Princeton will meet Friday at 7 pm in Dillon Gym. Five of the last six meetings between the two teams, including both last season, went to a 15-13 finish in the fifth set.
The opener, held at the Palestra, certainly didn't look promising for Princeton. The Tigers had lost all four five-set matches at that point of the season, and they trailed 2-1 after three sets. But Princeton rallied from an early 9-5 deficit in the fourth and won the crucial late points in both sets to take the match.
The return at Dillon Gym provides far different memories for Princeton, which seemed well in control deep in the third set. Penn caught fire late and never looked back, taking the final two sets and putting a major dent in Princeton's Ivy championship dreams.
While there will still be 13 more Ivy League matches to play after Friday, a quick start would be ideal for Princeton, which seems like it is finally getting healthy at the right time. That includes junior middle Nicole Kincade, who was named to the all-tournament team at the Bryant Invitational and is averaging more than a block per set.
Fellow middle Tiana Woolridge, a 2012 All-Ivy selection, has been among the league's most efficient hitters this season. She has a .369 attack percentage, second-best in the Ivy League, and her 1.8 kills per set are third best on the team.
Head coach Sabrina King has a range of options to use around the court, though you can assume sophomore Kendall Peterkin will be out there somewhere. A first-team All-Ivy honoree as a freshman, Peterkin leads the Ivy League in both points (4.4) and kills (3.8).
Penn's top hitter this season has been sophomore Jasmine DeSilvam who is averaging 2.9 kills per set. The Quakers come into the weekend having won four of their last five matches, incluiding 3-2 home wins over both Temple and Weber State.
Following Friday's match, Princeton will play five of the next seven on the road. Their next home matches will come against Dartmouth and Harvard on the weekend of Oct. 18-19.