Penn volleyball suffered its most heartbreaking loss of the season Friday night, as the Red and Blue dropped the last three sets against Harvard to lose 3-2.
The Quakers were able to start strong in Cambridge, which has been one of their greatest struggles this season. Recovering from a five point hole in the first set, the Red and Blue rode strong performances from senior middle blocker Kendall Turner and freshen libero Emmy Friedler to come back and win 25-20.
The second set was a more convincing victory for Penn as all three captains—senior setter Meghan Connolly, senior right side Trina Ohms, and junior outside hitter Alexis Genske—played key roles in the set win.
The wheels then fell off for the Quakers. Penn did not hold a lead at any point in the following three sets, dropping them 25-20, 25-15, and 15-11 respectively. The Quakers' defense could not contain the Crimson's well-balanced offense, as five Harvard players ended with double-digit kills. Sensational sophomore setter Corrine Bain of Harvard finished with a triple-double and four serving aces.
Harvard’s comeback exposed holes in the Quakers’ game plan, but there were bright spots. Alex Caldwell finished with another double-double, providing Penn with much-needed support in passing and on defense. Connolly, who had only played in 22 sets this season, came off the bench to record three service aces, most of any Quaker on Friday. The Red and Blue as a team to finally play well against the block, allowing only seven blocks in five sets.
Silver linings cannot remove the emotional cloud shadowing the Quakers after Harvard’s comeback, but they will have an opportunity to redeem themselves Saturday against Dartmouth.
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