Women’s volleyball hopes to earn fourth consecutive Ivy League Championship| Sep 20, 2018
In November 2017, the Princeton women’s volleyball team won its third straight Ivy League Championship. While it was initially tied with Yale for the Ivy League title, a tiebreaker game allowed the Tigers to clinch the outright title and advance to the NCAA tournament, where they fell to Iowa State in three sets. Coming off of an 18–8 overall and 10–4 conference record, the Tigers are hungry for the same success.
When asked about the goals of the team for the 2018 season, Jessie Harris, a current junior and setter for the team, explained, “We want to win our fourth straight Ivy League Championship and go to the tournament once again, but beyond that we want to win a first-round game in the NCAAs and make a name for the Ivy League on the national level.”
Sophomore libero Lauren Flaming also chimed in, saying, “Our current seniors have earned three Ivy titles in a row and I think it would be so special for them to end their Princeton volleyball career having won the title all four years.”
Both Harris and Flaming play crucial roles on the court. Harris is serving as a captain for the first time. She explained that, in this role, she wants not only to see her team have a high hitting percentage because of her sets, but also to make sure that her team fosters a great team culture. Flaming is hoping to be an outlet for the four new first-year players as they transition into collegiate athletics. These four players include libero Cameron Dames, outside hitter Grace Klepetka, outside hitter Elena Montgomery, and middle blocker Julia Schner.
“Hopefully the experiences I’ve had and the knowledge that I’ve gained will help them with anything [the first-years] might need,” Flaming added.
Going into this new year, the Tigers have already played 11 games. They are currently 7–4 with Ivy League play in the back of their heads. Harris explained that the team has been working extremely hard during the offseason and preseason and she is excited to be able to showcase its progress during its league games.
During their first 11 games this season, the Tigers took on tough teams. They started their season on a high note by beating Northwestern 3–0 during their opener at the 2018 Ellis Rowland Memorial Tournament. This was the first time that the women’s volleyball team had beat a Big 10 team, besides Rutgers, in more than two decades. They continued in the tournament with wins over Stephen F. Austin and Colgate.
The Tigers also played in the Towson Invitational in Maryland, where they faced two NCAA Sweet 16 competitors, Ohio State and Missouri. They lost to both teams, finishing 1–3 in the invitational, but put up a fight against the nationally ranked teams and improved along the way.
Harris also commented on the team dynamic that is going to lead these Tiger women to success. She stated, “We always say we are the teamiest team and I believe our past success has really come out of being such a tight-knit group of girls. We are all so close and push each other to succeed not only in volleyball, but in other aspects of our lives as well, and I think this develops a sense of trust and support that translates into success on the court.”
Harris also commented on their mindset going into the season while on a three-year hot streak by explaining, “We always emphasize not getting complacent or underestimating teams, and I think that is very important this year coming off of an Ivy championship and a great preseason. We always envision ourselves as the underdog.”
While the team is not coming out as the underdog, it is working hard while also staying humble about its successes. Yale has always been a tough competitor and will prove to be that way during the 2018 season.
The volleyball team will start league play on Sept. 21 at University of Pennsylvania. Its home opener will be on Sept. 28 against Brown.