Penn volleyball fought to the very end but found no luck against its bitter rival for the second time this season.
Princeton shut out the Quakers 3-0 in the Palestra Friday night in a statement win for a powerhouse Tigers side. Princeton (13-5, 6-2 Ivy) defeated Penn (8-9, 3-5) 25-23 in the first set, 25-19 in the second and 25-19 in the third set.
While Princeton has had a lot of recent Ivy success, the Red and Blue entered the match expecting a better result.
“We had a great week of practice so it’s upsetting after our performance. I don’t think we played our best match,” said coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley. “Princeton played well and we gave them plenty of opportunities to score. We didn’t play very aggressively tonight.”
The Tigers topped Penn not only in points but also in kills, digs, aces and blocks. The Quakers put in a valiant effort, but in the end, Princeton was able to turn the switch when they were down in each set to ultimately take the win.
“Defensively we weren’t very good. I thought both of our freshman outside hitters really stepped up and played well and found ways to score. I think collectively we weren’t on the same page,” explained Schumacher-Cawley.
The Quakers looked to take advantage of their home court and the fact that Princeton just came off of two straight losses. Penn took the lead early in the first set with a score of 6-4, but the Tigers quickly went on a 7-2 run to take the lead.
With the end of the first set coming to 24-23 with kills from senior Hayley Molnar, freshman Parker Jones and senior Kendall Covington, Princeton earned the decisive point, making the score 25-23.
“We had spurts of great play throughout the match but not enough to close any sets out,” added Schumacher-Cawley.
In the second set, the Red and Blue were behind 6-1 but eventually fought back to take a 14-12 lead. Although it seemed hopeful for the fighting Quakers, Princeton came back with a 7-2 run, putting the score out of reach at 22-17, which was too much for Penn to overcome.
The third set was very similar to the second, with the Quakers taking an early lead at 10-9 with kills from freshman Raven Sulaimon, senior Sydney Morton and Jones. However, the Tigers went on another 7-2 run to strip the win from the Quakers, putting the Orange and Black up 23-17.
While Penn now looks forward to facing Brown and Yale this upcoming weekend, the squad emphasized the importance of learning from the loss.
“We have six matches left, and we have to focus on getting better, and you can still get better in these next three weeks,” said Schumacher-Cawley.
It is back to work for the Quakers, and they are not backing down.
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