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Princeton women's volleyball will face off with Penn State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday. Photo Credit: Jack Graham / The Daily Princetonian

Around this time last year, the Princeton women’s volleyball team watched Yale take the bid to the NCAA tournament after winning the Ivy League Champion title. In the opening round of the tournament, the Bulldogs fell to Syracuse University.

This time around, it’s the Tigers’ turn to go dancing. Princeton (17–7, 10–2 Ivy) tied with Yale (15–8, 10–2) in the regular conference. After a playoff match to declare the champion, the Tigers took home the title and the bid to the NCAA tournament.

Not only was the win against the Bulldogs a momentous occasion, but the team as a whole put their best foot forward for the important playoff match, which ended up reflecting the outcome the Tigers had sought for the past year.

Leading the Tigers was sophomore outside hitter Elena Montgomery with 19 kills. Senior outside hitter Natasha Skov added 16 kills and junior middle blocker Clare Lenihan added another 13 kills. Then, senior setter Jessie Harris managed 57 assists, pushing her past a thousand assists for the season. Sophomore libero Cameron Dames also defended the Tigers with 23 digs.

Taking home the trophy, the Tigers are set to play No. 11 Pennsylvania State this Friday at Penn State’s Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions (24–5, 17–3) are tied for second in the Big Ten conference and are entering the NCAA tournament for the 39th straight season. Since the conception of the tournament, Penn State has earned a spot every year. As of now, the Nittany Lions have secured seven NCAA Championship titles, and they’re looking to make this year their eighth.

In previous years, Princeton and Penn State have played a total of nine times, with Princeton securing only two wins. With their work cut out for them and riding on the high of winning the Ivy League, the Tigers will be hungry to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament.

A win against the Nittany Lions will put the Princeton Tigers up against the winner of Towson University (28–2, 16–0) and American University (24–7, 15–1). Those two teams are set to play on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m., also in Rec Hall. Princeton will then play Penn State at 7:30 p.m. The winners of those two games are scheduled for Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m., and again, it will be hosted on Penn State’s home court.

The opening round matches will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.

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