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Junior middle blocker Clare Lenihan.

Photo Courtesy of Beverly Schaefer / GoPrincetonTigers

Princeton women’s volleyball (5–5 overall, 1–0 Ivy) began Ivy League play with a 3–0 sweep (25–20, 26–24, 25–18) over Penn (7–3 overall, 0–1 Ivy) on Friday. 

During the first set, neither the Tigers nor the Quakers led by more than two points until senior outside and right side hitter Devon Peterkin had a service ace, giving the Tigers an 18–15 lead. The Tigers took the next five out of eight points in the set. The Quakers added two more points to the board, settling the score at 24–20 before a Tiger kill from junior middle blocker Clare Lenihan gave set one to the Tigers. The score was tied eight times during this set.

The Quakers held their first large lead in the second set, taking a 11–6 lead after five consecutive points. The Tigers came back with a 9–4 run to tie the set at 15–all. The Tigers and Quakers shared a tied score six more times, until two kills from sophomore outside hitter Elena Montgomery and Lenihan, respectively, gave the Tigers victory, at 26–24.

Set three was a quick one for the Tigers, starting off with a 9–2 lead, forcing a Quaker timeout. The Quakers attempted a comeback, but the closest they came to the Tigers was three points at 20–17. The Tigers rallied off five of the next six points to give them the 25–18 victory, securing the sweep.

Princeton had 45 kills during the match, 14 of which went to Montgomery. Peterkin and Lenihan added 12 and 11, respectively. Senior setter Jessie Harris had 38 of the 41 assists to lead the Tiger offense. Three Tigers had double-digit digs during the match. Sophomore libero Cameron Dames had 14, and Peterkin and Montgomery both added 10. 

The Tigers gear up for two more games of Ivy play this weekend against Columbia (7–4 overall, 0–1 Ivy) and Cornell (8–2 overall, 1–0 Ivy). Columbia faced Cornell last weekend and lost 0–3. The Tigers have swept both Columbia and Cornell three out of the last four times they have played. 

Columbia lost outside hitter Luciana Del Valle to graduation in 2019. De Valle helped Columbia offensively, carrying 135 combined kills during the 2018 season. Despite this loss, the Lions still have sophomore Emily Teehan contributing to the offense from the outside. In the 2018 season, Teehan contributed 265 kills. The Lions also have two strong middle blockers, sophomore Isa Lamus and senior Chichi Ikwuazom; the two had a combined 249 kills from the middle in 2018. Ikwuazom has already beat that combined number, adding 250 kills alone this season, making her a large offensive force for the Lions. Finally, junior setter Audrey Cheng is a force to be reckoned with for the Lions. Leading the offense, she had 743 assists in 2018 and is already at 401 assists this season.

Defensively, the Lions have senior libero Kalie Wood, who brought in 362 digs last season and is sitting at 150 this season. Cheng isn’t far behind, with 124 digs this season.

Cornell was third in the Ivy League in the 2018 season. The Big Red lost outside hitter Carla Sganderlla, who managed 199 kills last season, making her the team leader. There are currently no players with more than 75 kills this season, but six of Cornell’s players currently hold over 50 kills this season, underscoring that junior setter Zoe Chamness and first year setter Emma Worthington have spread their sets out. Each of the setters have reached 199 assists this season. Sophomore Jillienne Bennett is leading the Big Red with 68 kills; not far behind is senior middle blocker Jada Stackhouse, with 66 kills. Stackhouse leads the team in blocks with 43.

Senior libero Lily Barber is carrying Cornell’s defense with 140 total digs. The next highest is first year Joanna Chang with 77 digs. 

The Tigers will look to keep their perfect record in Ivy League play against the Lions on Friday and Big Red on Saturday. Friday’s match will begin at 7 p.m. in Dillon Gymnasium and Saturday’s is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Dillon Gymnasium. Both matches can be streamed on ESPN+.

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