Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One More Match ...

The Princeton women's volleyball Class of 2008 will not end its respective careers in the NCAA tournament. Inside a packed Dillon Gym last Saturday, that dream was vanquished in three tight sets against Yale. Give the Bulldogs credit; they won the key points late in the first and second sets and held off a rally in the third, and hopefully they will represent the Ivy League well in the NCAAs.

But that loss does not erase the impressive four years posted by the Princeton senior class, a rare collection of players at varying positions who came together and achieved an incredible record in their time together.

That group, consisting of Lindsey Ensign, Kelli Grobe, Parker Henritze, Jessica Hoffmann, Bailey Robinson and Sasha Sadrai, will enter Wednesday night's match with a career record of 77-19. As freshmen, Ensign, Grobe and Henritze were consistent starters, and Henritze went on to earn Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors.

The next season, Hoffmann and Robinson moved into the starting lineup and Sadrai was becoming a back-row regular (if you aren't familiar with the sport, trust us, she played a lot). That season, Princeton went 21-3 overall, 11-3 in the Ivy League and finished second. Last season, starting five members of the Class of 2008, Princeton went 21-4 and became the first Ivy volleyball team to go 14-0 in league play. The performances of starters Jenny McReynolds '08 and current junior Sheena Donohue were also crucial to the title, but this piece is meant to point out that every member of that junior class played a key role in arguably the most dominant volleyball team in league history.

Despite not winning the Ivy League this season, Princeton has put together another strong year. The team is 17-4, 11-2 in the league, but simply couldn't find a way to beat Yale in two tries. When Princeton takes on Penn, its fiercest rival, tonight, they will want nothing more than to send this great class out on a high note.

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