Another game lost, but another lesson learned for the Penn volleyball team.
Though the Quakers won their first set rather handily, Delaware stormed back to defeat Penn 3-1 in a tightly contested match in Newark, Del., Saturday night.
“We actually came out pretty strong in the beginning, and I think we caught Delaware off guard,” coach Kerry Carr said. “[They are] a much stronger team than we are, and they adapted to what we had done.”
Penn jumped out of the gates to take the first set 25-14 but was unable to carry the momentum as Delaware rebounded and took the second set 25-16.
The third set provided the most excitement as the Quakers pushed to put themselves ahead at 27-26. But they were unable to finish off the Blue Hens (6-0), who rallied back to 29-27 before taking the fourth set — and the match — 25-15.
“I think set three really was kind of like what the whole match was — like a back and forth game,” Carr said. “It didn’t show it in the blowout games, because it was only until point 15, but it was a battle.”
Though the loss was tough to handle after coming out strong at the beginning of each set, Penn has much to be proud about, according to Carr.
The score belied the intensity of the match, as Penn’s hitters and passers were on point and the defense was “impenetrable” for much of the night.
“We did a lot of good things well,” Carr said. “When we see those moments of brilliance, we know how good of a team we can be.”
Many of those moments were caused by stellar play from senior outside hitter Julia Swanson, who had 13 digs along with a team-leading 17 kills.
“She came out on fire and ready to take charge,” Carr said of Swanson.
Freshman middle blocker Susan Stuecheli also performed well for the Quakers, notching a career-high 12 kills while hitting an impressive .474 for the night.
Despite the fact that Penn has now lost four of its last five matches, the Quakers hope to learn from this game as they have from their other nonconference matches — especially with their first Ivy contest at home against Princeton coming up Friday.
“What we learned from Delaware basically is we can’t allow ourselves to have a couple mistakes in a row because we get really, really tight,” Carr said. “If we learn that from this loss, it will be a good loss.”
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.