Penn volleyball's first Ivy League win of the season highlighted the team's fall break weekend at the Palestra.
The Quakers had two home matches on Friday and Saturday against Brown and Yale, respectively. The Red and Blue successfully swept the Bears before dropping a tough match to the Bulldogs.
The match against Brown (9-6, 1-4 Ivy) ended in victory for the Quakers (8-6, 1-4), who won in three consecutive sets. It was a tight match, especially in Penn's 29-27 first set win, but in the end, the Quakers were able to secure their first Ivy League victory of the year.
“[The] past few games have been a little rough, but we were so confident coming into this match, and before we even stepped on the court, I had complete faith that we were going to beat this team,” freshman outside hitter Autumn Leak said. “Our team has obviously risen to the occasion, so I’m super proud of them."
In the first set, the Quakers rode an 11-6 run keyed by three kills from Leak to go ahead, 18-13. Despite Brown's comeback effort tying the score at 22 all, Penn was able to pull away late.
The next two sets were much easier for the Red and Blue, as they raced out to a 7-0 lead in the second set on their way to a 25-18 win. In the final set, the Quakers rode four kills from junior middle hitter Caroline Leng to a 25-20 win.
Sophomore opposite hitter Margaret Planek contributed significantly to the Penn effort once again, scoring the winning point in the second set and helping the Quakers secure the win in the third.
On Saturday, Penn was unable to pick up a second win on the weekend, suffering a loss to Yale (8-6, 4-1).
The Quakers came out of the gate ready to play. With 12 combined kills from junior outside hitter Parker Jones and Leak, the Red and Blue seemed poised to win a thrilling first set that saw five lead changes. However, Yale found its groove late, going on a 10-4 run to close the set and win 25-18. After going behind 10-6 in the second set, the Red and Blue were never able to get back in the set, falling behind two sets to zero by a score of 25-21. This early deficit forced the Quakers to try to start a comeback.
In the third set, Yale started off strong again, and the Red and Blue tried their best to keep up. Penn managed to tie the game, 10-10, with a service ace from freshman defensive specialist Caroline Douglas, but Yale still managed to have the upper hand, winning the set by a score of 25-20.
“Yale exposed a lot of our weaknesses that we didn’t know we had,” said junior outside hitter Parker Jones, who is also a DP staffer. “[We're focusing on] getting back to the gym and working hard on covering those short balls and start receive passing.”
Although the Quakers lost, the team still took away some positives from the match.
“We did a really good job of terminating this match. We took some killer swings,” Jones said. “I feel like we’re really gritty; we have the ability to bounce back really quickly after messing up.”
This weekend demonstrated the team’s efforts and determination, and their solidarity allowed them to continue playing hard.
“We have a really good sense of unity on the team, so I think that really held us together,” Jones said.
Next weekend, the Quakers will play in two away matches against Dartmouth and Harvard with hopes of adding to their Ivy League victory total.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.