Heading into this weekend, the volleyball team knew it had to get past its horrible October.
The month brought a 2-6 record, a five-game slide and numerous injuries to key players for the Red and Blue.
Three weekends ago, in the middle of that five-game losing streak, Brown and Yale came to the Palestra and defeated the Quakers, 3-2 and 3-0, respectively.
This weekend, Penn wanted retribution. It was partially attained.
Friday night, the Quakers headed down to New Haven to face first-place Yale, which entered riding a four-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs (17-5, 11-1 Ivy) were able to down Penn in three games and Princeton in four the next night.
Though the Quakers led the first set 13-7, Yale roared back to take the set 20-25, and next two games as well with scores of 25-22 and 25-8.
“It was as if they were firing on all cylinders and we were firing on one.” coach Kerry Carr said.
Junior Lauren Martin and freshman Emma White led the Quakers with eight kills each while sophomore Kristen Schoonover had 15 assists in her first action in almost a month.
“I was proud of how our team put our game plan to work,” Carr said. “Unfortunately, a couple of our players didn’t bring their strongest games, and we need all of our players playing well to pull that off.”
The next night, the Quakers were indeed able to pull it off, defeating Brown in four sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16, 25-19.
“We had to shift our focus to a different team the next night,” Carr said. “And they did that.”
The victory avenged a narrow, five-set loss to Brown (6-17, 2-10) on Oct. 14.
“We all played together as a team,” White said. “Even though we had a slow start we were able to pull it off.”
White led the team with a career-high 19 kills, but was modest after her performance.
“Our setters were really on in that game, which helped.” White said. “I also got a lot of kills from the back row, which is unusual, and is probably why I had the higher number.”
It was key for the Quakers (8-14. 4-8) to bounce back after a poor third set on Friday night, but they did it with relatively little difficulty.
“These girls have to gain confidence to play well.” Carr said Sunday. “When you can redeem yourself knowing they have the upper hand, that’s a big moment. It was [Brown’s] gym, on their senior night. To come out on the other side victorious was really great.”
With two home games left in the season, the Quakers are focused on finishing strong.
“There’s something about being with a really close team that has been through a lot of disappointment and I know we’ll put our best foot forward in these next two games,” Carr said. “Our mindset is always to win every game that we can.”
Penn plays Columbia and Cornell to close out the season. Saturday will be senior night, as the Quakers honor their lone fourth-year Logan Johnson.
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