The women’s volleyball team closed off their final week before Ivy League play with a balanced performance at the American Volleyball Challenge. The Tigers managed to claim a convincing win over the Howard Bisons, but fell to both Iowa University and their host, American University. The Princeton team, now 7-3 overall, will look to improve this record against their Ivy League-rival Penn in their conference debut.
Princeton opened the week against American University. Debuting after a preseason injury, sophomore outside hitter Devon Peterkin came off the bench to notch six kills for the Princeton side. While the Tigers split the first two sets against the Eagles, they were unable to mount a comeback as American University distanced themselves in the final two sets.
The Orange and Black quickly rebounded, however, as they faced the Bisons. Starting strong from the start, the Tigers won the first set with a 25-16 score line. The offense was led by the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, sophomore right side hitter Maggie O’Connell, who led the team with 13 kills. Outside hitters Peterkin and sophomore Natasha Skov each added another 11 kills to the Princeton effort. Although the Bison managed to tie the game 1-1, they were unable to rally in the face of an efficient Princeton offense that hit .379 in the fourth set.
The Tigers closed the tournament by dropping their last game against a tough Iowa University team. The Hawks had only two losses this season, with one to NCAA champions Stanford. The Iowa team proved too much for the Tigers, sweeping them in three sets to be the weekend champions.
The Princeton team will have little time to dwell on this loss as they look forward to Ivy League play on Sept. 22. The team will open the season against a tough Penn team as they look to repeat the successes of last season. Indeed, the Princeton team has quite the record to maintain, having won the last 20 of its 21 conference matches. More importantly, the team will look to defend its Ivy League title and earn another bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Quakers have proven to be tough opponents in the past, and if this year is like the others, fans will have a must-see thriller on their hands. Last season, the Tigers narrowly edged Penn out in a tight 3-2 match. It took career efforts across the board for the Orange and Black to come out on top.
During that same game, then senior and co-captain Brittany Ptak led the offense with a career-high 21 kills. O’Connell also added a career best 18 kills and then-sophomore setter Claire Nussbaum paced the offense with 62 assists and an impressive 22 digs. The Tigers will look to match this intensity in the coming season as they start their Ivy League campaign.
Princeton will host Penn at Dillon Gymnasium this Friday at 7 p.m.