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Penn and Yale Face off in Women's Volleyball Playoff Sunday


PRINCETON, N.J. -- Tied for the 2010 Ivy women's volleyball title, Penn and Yale face off in a playoff Sunday, with the winner earning the League's NCAA Championship automatic bid.

The match will take place Sunday, No.v 21 at 1 p.m. at Yale's John J. Lee Amphitheater. Admission is free of charge for all fans and parking is also free of charge and available for all behind Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Entrances are located off of Tower Parkway, Lake Place and Ashmun Street. The entrance to Payne Whitney Gymnasium is on Tower Parkway.

Yale and Penn claimed a share of the 2010 Ivy League title after each completing a 12-2 record in League play. Yale's two losses came at the hands of Penn and Princeton early in the season. The Bulldogs then closed out play with 10 straight wins.

Penn, meanwhile, fell in its Ivy opener to Princeton, and lost a match midway through the season to Yale, but closed things out with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Tigers in the regular-season finale.

Penn becomes the first team to repeat at the Ivy champion since Cornell won the title from 2004-06 (the 2004 title was a four-way tie). This is Penn's 10th all-time title and their second shared title. The Quakers also shared the honor with Brown in 2001.

For Yale, this marks the fourth all-time championship for the Bulldogs and the second shared title. Yale won the Ivy title outright in 1978 and 2008, while sharing the honor in 2004 and 2010.

In 34 years of Ivy women's volleyball play, only Dartmouth and Columbia have never won a League title. With 13 outright titles and one shared title, Princeton has won the most championships, most recently in 2007. Penn follows close behind with nine titles, including the 2010 championship.

While their regular-season records of 12-2 affords both Penn and Yale a tie of the Ivy League title, only one squad can earn the League's automatic bid for the 2010 NCAA Championships. Tonight's match determines which team's season will continue and which will come to an end.

The NCAA Division I Volleyball selection show will air on ESPNews on Sunday, Nov. 28 beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Tonight's winner will be placed among the 64-member bracket.

Prior to 2001, the Ivy season ended with a League tournament, which determined the NCAA automatic qualifier. The tournament was discontinued beginning in 2001 and the NCAA qualifier has been determined by the League's regular-season champion.

This year marks the third occasion in which the regular-season has ended in at least a two-way tie, forcing a playoff match. In 2001, Penn defeated Brown in a three-set match to advance to the NCAA's. In 2004, four teams tied atop the standings, eventually resulting in Yale defeating Cornell in a five-set thriller for the NCAA bid.

Penn def. Brown 2-1 (28-30, 30-25, 30-24)

Semifinal: Yale def. Harvard 3-2
(20-30, 30-28, 30-20, 28-30, 15-13) — (11/20)
Semifinal: Cornell def. Princeton 3-0
(30-25, 30-22, 30-26) — (11/20)
Championship: Yale def. Cornell 3-2
(30-19, 26-30, 30-32, 30-28, 16-14) — (11/21)

Yale enters today's match riding a 10-match win streak, including claiming the last six in straight sets. The Bulldogs will also find comfort in the fact that today's match is in the Lee Amphitheater, where they are a perfect 10-0 on the season.

Penn, meanwhile, has won 11 of its last 12 matches, the long loss coming at the hands of the Bulldogs on Oct. 30. The Quakers are 5-4 in road matches this season, but suffered just the one road loss (to Yale) during Ivy play.

Penn and Yale split a pair of matches against each other during the regular-season. The teams first met on Oct. 8 in Philadelphia, with the Quakers claiming a 3-1 victory. Lauren Martin (14 kills), Amanda Pacheco (13 kills) and Kristen Etterbeek (11 kills) led the way for Penn in the win. On Oct. 30, the Bulldogs claimed revenge with a straight-sets victory in New Haven, Conn. Yale got 18 kills from Bridget Hearst and held Penn to a dismal .086 hitting percentage on the night.

The Bulldogs have made an impressive mark on the Ivy statistics this season, entering today's match leading five of the seven team stat categories. Yale ranks No. 1 in hitting percentage (.241), opponent hitting percentage (.157), assists (13.72), kills (14.55) and digs (19.40). The Bulldogs' dig mark is also the No. 1 mark in the nation.

The Quakers have had their say in the Ivy statistical rankings, boasting the top individual in hitting percentage, assists and digs. Middle blocker Amanda Pacheco leads the way with a .347 hitting percentage, setter Megan Tryon boasts an average of 10.62 assists per set and defensive specialist Madison Wojciechowski is the League leader in digs with 5.68 per set.

Penn senior libero Madison Wojciechowski surpassed the 2,000 career dig mark on Oct. 30, becoming the first Quaker and second Ivy player of all-time to achieve that feat. This past weekend, Wojciechowski collected another 25 digs, bringing her career total to 2,067, which surpasses the previous League record of 2,040 set by Cornell's Megan Mushovic (2006-09).