When it rains, it pours.
On Friday night, the Quakers opened up Ivy League play on the road against Princeton. Penn (3-7, 0-1 Ivy) lost in straight sets to the Tigers (7-2, 1-0 Ivy), dropping their seventh consecutive match after starting the season 3-0. The Red and Blue at times showed flashes of brilliance and fight, but they were unable to keep it up throughout the whole match, losing 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-8) in front of a raucous pro-Princeton crowd.
The first set started off close, with the Quakers going down 7-6 before the Tigers scored four straight points. The match paused at the media timeout with a score of 14-7 in favor of Princeton. Penn was able to cut that lead down to four points, 17-13, but that was the closest they would get in the set, with the Tigers scoring three straight points after, forcing Penn to call a second timeout.
The teams went back and forth after that until Princeton was able to close it out, winning the first set by seven points, 25-18.
The next set started off poorly for the Quakers, as a 3-3 tie quickly turned into a 10-5 advantage for the Tigers. However, Penn was able to rally, scoring four consecutive points. The Red and Blue's efforts were highlighted by sophomore outside hitter Tatum DeMann’s service ace, which made it a 10-9 game. Penn was able to keep it close for a little bit, and the score stood at 12-10 Princeton before it all started to turn backward for the Red and Blue.
Princeton ripped off six straight points to make it 18-10. Penn fought back and was able to cut the deficit to five, 21-16, before Princeton scored four more consecutive points to take the second set by nine, 25-16.
The third set proved to be a continuation of the ending of the second set for the Quakers. The Tigers scored the first nine points of the third set before Penn was able to get on the scoreboard. The two teams traded blows after that, and the score was 17-8 before Princeton punctuated the night in style, winning the next eight points to win the third set by 17, 25-8.
"It's a very tough environment to play in," coach Meredith Schamun said.
She praised the Tigers’ overall strong play as the reason why the Quakers were unable to find their footing in the match. She also acknowledged that there were spurts of dominance that the Quakers had, particularly in the second set, but they simply could not piece them together to result in a win.
"We're excited to play in the Palestra again in front of the home fans," Schamun said, after spending nearly an entire month playing on the road.
Yesterday was simply not the Quakers’ night, as they struggled hitting only .035 throughout the whole match and could only muster 26 kills and had 23 errors in total. Junior outside hitter Autumn Leak continued her strong play this season, leading the team with eight kills.
Senior setter Kylie Kulinski was a bright spot for the Red and Blue, as she led the team with 19 assists, along with two solo blocks and three digs. Other strong performers for Penn include senior opposite hitter Margaret Planek, who registered six kills, and junior defensive specialist Caroline Douglas, who led the team with 10 digs.
The Quakers return home for the first time since Sept. 4 for a full and important weekend of matches. They will host Harvard (4-6) Friday night at 7 p.m., and Dartmouth (8-2) Saturday at 5 p.m.