After dropping the first set to Yale, Penn volleyball had some adjustments to make.
In the opening frame, Yale senior Alexis Crusey led the Bulldogs with five kills on a .333 attack percentage, and the second-leading hitter, Cat Dailey, notched three kills on .300 hitting.
Overall the Bulldogs hit at a .231 clip. By contrast, the Quakers recorded just a .167 hitting percentage.
After dropping that first set, it was clear that the Quakers knew how to respond. They stepped up their offense, improving to .333 hitting in the second set with two more kills and half the number of errors.
But Yale also improved offensively, raising their hitting percentage to .238 as well. So with the match even at one set apiece, it became clear that the team that could neutralize its opponent’s offense would emerge victorious.
“That was our gameplan. We really adapted to their offense,” Penn coach Kerry Carr said. “It was two offensive teams, and whichever played better defense was going to win.”
In the third set Penn notched a remarkable 30 digs, as junior libero Madison Wojciechowski dominated with 10 all by herself.
“Madison had a great game. She was digging everything,” senior co-captain Elizabeth Semmens said. “She was so vicious, after every single ball.”
Led by Wojciechowski, the Quakers’ defense dropped Yale’s hitting percentage to a paltry .082.
“We were so scrappy. No ball hit the floor. We were too fast.” said Wojciechowski, who finished with a match-high 25 digs.
The Quakers as a whole recorded a season-high 97 digs, especially impressive considering the match did not go the maximum five sets when teams are much more likely to compile high dig totals. The Bulldogs managed 75 digs.
“We never gave up the ball,” Semmens said, indicating the effect the team’s dominant defense had on the match.
The high dig totals allowed setter Megan Tryon to turn in an impressive 56 assists.
“She makes the hitters look really good,” Semmens said.
In all, four Quakers — Wojciechowski, Semmens, Julia Swanson and Mary Russell — finished with double digits in digs.
“The match was won and lost on the defensive end,” Yale coach Erin Appleman added. “The difference was their offensive and defensive depth, and tonight it was too much for us to handle.”
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