The pieces are starting to fit together for Penn Volleyball.
In the final game of their month-long road trip, the Quakers swept Brown in straight sets, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21. The win was the team’s first sweep of an Ivy League opponent this season.
“The girls played very well and bounced back from a loss at Yale,” coach Kerry Carr said. “They put everything together to get a win against Brown on their home court.”
“I think the mentality we had today was a lot better. From the start of set one, the energy was much higher,” senior captain Susan Stuecheli added. “Our entire team was into it and cheering and aggressive. It made the biggest difference.”
With the first set tied at 15-15, the Red and Blue (8-8, 2-3 Ivy) reeled off 7 straight points against the Bears (7-9, 3-2 Ivy) to take a decisive lead in the set, which they eventually won 25-19. The Quakers won the set in part due to impressive serving, as they scored five points on service aces.
Penn continued its impressive play through the second set as it grabbed a 4-3 lead early in the set and never looked back. The Quakers hit for .186 with 16 kills, while limiting Brown to just .050 with their stifling defense.
“We just keep getting better every time we go out there and play,” Carr said. “Mixing up lineups and using our whole roster during these games, that’s something that we tried to do again tonight and it was successful.”
The Bears hung around through the beginning of the third set, claiming a lead at 8-7, but Penn went on an 8-1 run to pull ahead 15-9 and finished the match without much trouble.
Stuecheli came within one kill of matching a career high with 15 kills, while also hitting .636 with a solo block and five block assists for the Red and Blue. Stuecheli, an honorable mention All-Ivy last season, appears to have returned to her previous form after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season.
“The key this weekend was the energy from the bench, generated from every single member of our team,” Stuecheli said. “There was a kind of energy, a kind of encouragement and that really helped me this weekend.”
Sophomore setters Alex Caldwell and Ronnie Bither, formerly club volleyball teammates, also had stand-out performances fro the Quakers. Caldwell did a bit of everything with seven kills, 15 assists and six digs and Bither earned yet another double-double with 24 assists and 11 digs.
Brown’s three-game winning streak was snapped with this loss, though they remain tied for the second best record in the Ivies.
The Quakers begin a five-game home stand next weekend as Harvard and Dartmouth come to visit the Palestra.
“It’ll be nice to be home and have our home court weekend after some unfriendly gyms with unfriendly fans,” Carr said. “We’re looking forward to getting the fans on our side.”
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