Women’s volleyball players like to get scrappy.
Following a defeat by Delaware last week, the Quakers did just that to notch a 3-0 win against Dartmouth on Friday at the Palestra, putting an end to the Big Green’s five-game win streak. Saturday’s match against Harvard, also home, proved more intense, but less successful, as the Crimson won, 3-2.
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Penn took the lead in the beginning of the first Dartmouth set, courtesy of numerous kills by sophomore Kristen Etterbeek. As the Quakers defense began to wane, however, the Big Green took advantage, eventually taking a 21-18 lead. Penn came back to win the set, 25-23.
The second and third sets saw less defense from Dartmouth and more aggressive offense from the Red and Blue, who closed both sets with a score of 25-17.
Right-side hitter Lauren Martin, whose shoulder popped last week against Delaware, recorded six of Penn’s 17 kills in the third set.
Dartmouth’s strength was “definitely their scrappiness,” Martin said. “They were able to get up some of our best hits, and they were able to send them over and over again hoping that we would make mistakes. We were trying to be scrappier than them.”
However, the momentum didn’t carry over to Saturday, as Harvard won in five back-and-forth sets.
The Crimson, which Penn outside hitter Emma White described as “scrappy with a few tough hitters,” proved an unexpected challenge.
“Last time they came down to our gym, they did not do well,” Penn coach Kerry Carr explained.
Saturday marked Harvard’s first Ivy victory of the season.
More energetic than Dartmouth, the Crimson chipped away at a 7-1 deficit to eventually take the first set.
The duel came to a head in the fifth game, with the Red and Blue leading, 11-7. Then, the game-winning match took a turn.
“Set five was like a roller coaster, and we played really well,” Penn libero Dani Shepherd said. “We only needed four more points [to win], and then we let one point go and another and another. All of a sudden, it was caught up, and people started to get nervous. There was kind of a tense feeling on the court … [that] was a kind of a reality check.”
The Crimson won the set, 15-13, and subsequently, the match.
Harvard coach Jennifer Weiss attributed the victory to good execution.
“I think we executed what we needed to execute during crunch time,” she said. “You can talk about it all you want, but when you don’t execute and concentrate, you get into trouble.”
Carr said that although talented, her players “need to have more confidence and know that we are a good team.”
“We’re going to make mistakes, but if you keep plotting through and hitting hard and tough, you’re going to be fine,” she said. “I just have to get them to believe that little bit.”
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