Some holes are too deep for even the defending Ivy champions to dig their way out of.
On Saturday, the Quakers faced big deficits midway through each of their sets against Yale, and though the team came close, Penn was never able to draw even with the Bulldogs, losing in straight sets.
Following the loss to Yale (14-7, 8-2 Ivy), the Quakers’ hard-fought 3-0 victory over Brown Friday seemed like an afterthought.
With the loss, the Red and Blue (11-10, 7-2) dropped out of first place heading into the end of the Ivy slate and will now need a Yale loss if they hope to repeat as Ivy champions.
On a night when the Quakers were unable to find any rhythm, a 7-2 Bulldogs run in the first set proved to be the difference.
Yale continued to build on that momentum throughout the match. The Red and Blue fell behind early in the second set, 11-6, and were unable to come back.
In the third set, with the score tied at 10, the Bulldogs went on a five-point run. Though the Quakers closed the deficit to 24-22, they were never able to take back the lead.
Despite the loss, the game wasn’t without its bright spots. Senior Madison Wojciechowski had a match-high 20 digs, giivng her a career 2,001 digs and making her just the second player in conference history to surpass 2,000.
The Quakers entered the contest against Yale after having the upper hand in straight sets against Brown (7-15, 1-9).
The Quakers played solid defense, forcing 23 attack errors while holding Brown to just a .122 hitting percentage on the night. Wojciechowski contributed 19 digs to the defensive effort, while Penn’s offense was led by sophomore Amanda Pacheco, who had 7 kills on ten attempts.
Senior Julia Swanson had her sixth straight double-double with ten kills and ten digs, while senior Megan Tryon helped the cause with 31 assists, six digs and two kills.
Early in the first set, the Quakers went on an 8-0 run, a difference the Bears weren’t able to overcome.
In the second, the Red and Blue rallied from an early eight-point deficit to steal the lead from the Bears before eventually earning a 30-28 victory.
Despite being up 20-11 at one point in the third set, Penn allowed Brown back into the match. The Bears managed to cut the Quaker’s advantage to 23-21. Following a timeout, however, Penn was able to finish off the Bears for good.
Having lost possession of first place, the Quakers’ upcoming matches against Columbia and Cornell next week are vital if the Quakers hope to remain in the hunt.
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