Quakers served at the Palestra

Two-time defending champs suffer pair of weekend defeats

· October 16, 2011, 10:47 pm   ·  Updated October 16, 2011, 10:47 pm

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The Penn volleyball team entered its Ivy League schedule in search of a third straight title. Instead, the Quakers are now facing a three-game losing streak.

The Quakers fell in five sets to previously slumping Brown Friday night and were swept by Yale the next day.

With the results, Penn (6-11, 2-5 Ivy) dropped to into a sixth-place tie with the Bears, while the Bulldogs kept pace with Princeton for first place.

The Quakers won the first set against the Bears, 21-25. While Brown (6-12, 2-5)held the lead for much of the set, sophomore Kristen Etterbeek’s six kills helped Penn secure the lead.

The second set went back and forth, but Etterbeek broke a 21-21 tie with a kill, and junior Amanda Pacheco brought home the set point for a 2-0 Penn lead.

The Bears’ offense stepped up its game in set three and took a nine-point lead, 14-5. The Quakers cut the lead to three, but ultimately fell, 25-23.

“Brown just started playing better,” coach Kerry Carr said. “They found spots on the floor where our defense wasn’t.”

The Red and Blue started the fourth set strong, but Brown fought back to a 23-all tie. Bears freshman Maddie Lord and senior Laurielle Hofer both made kills that clinched the set for Brown.

Neither team asserted a definite advantage in set five. The Bears and Quakers tied twice before the Bears led, 14-12. Finally, a kill by Lord claimed the game.

The Red and Blue did not have much turnaround time in between games, as they had less than 24 hours to recover and switch gears.

“[Brown and Yale] are very different teams,” Carr said. “Brown is more defensive; Yale is more offensive.”

Saturday night’s match against Yale (12-5, 6-1) was a clencher from the start. The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in kills, assists and digs.

Yale and Penn traded the lead three times and tied eight times throughout the first set. The Quakers were ahead, 13-12, when the Bulldogs made consecutive kills to gain the lead and eventually the first-set victory, 25-21.

The Bulldogs definitively took and maintained the lead in the second set. Double kills by Yale freshman Mollie Rogers gave Yale a 14-7 lead. Despite a few kills by the Quakers, the Bulldogs hung on, 25-17.

In the third set, Yale again quickly took control with a 5-1 lead. Yale sophomore McHaney Carter, junior Haley Wessels and freshman Allie Frappier added kills to increase the lead to 20-9, the largest margin of the set. Penn couldn’t catch up, and Yale won, 25-19, to take the game.

“Yale is a really strong team and they’re really consistent,” freshman outside hitter Emma White said. “We had trouble finishing sets.”

Following two consecutive defeats, it would seem that the Quakers should be sour, but immediately after the game the girls were smiling. Forty-five middle schoolers from Philadelphia public schools, who joined Penn’s cheering section for the day, took the court for a community volleyball clinic.

“All of our athletes need to give back to the community, and this is one way that we do it,” Carr said.

The losses didn’t diminish the children’s joy in participating.

“They were excited to see the team play on the court and then play themselves,” Carr said. “Some of them said that their dream is to play volleyball in college and that’s a good dream.”

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