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10-2-2021-volleyball-vs-dartmouth-autumn-leak-diego-cardenas
Junior Autumn Leak kills the ball during a game versus Dartmouth at the Palestra on Oct. 2. Credit: Diego Cárdenas Uribe

Penn volleyball is on a roll. 

The Quakers appear to have put their losing streak behind them, as they are now on a two game winning streak. On Friday night in the Big Apple, the Quakers (5-8, 2-2 Ivy) were victorious in taking on the Columbia Lions (4-9, 1-3). Prior to the match, the two teams had identical overall and Ivy League records. 

Unlike the usual slow starts from the Red and Blue, the Quakers started the game very strong, winning the first two sets of the match. 

“I was really proud of us,” coach Meredith Schamun said. “I think Columbia did not start strong. They gave us a lot of points early, but I think we did a good job capitalizing on that and staying consistent on our side of the net. We were really happy with that performance.”  

After starting the first set down 2-0 to the Lions, the Quakers quickly picked up their momentum to tie the game at 4-4. The Red and Blue exchanged a couple of points with the Lions before extending their largest lead to 16-7. Although it seemed the Lions got some momentum, the Red and Blue were able to stave them off and took the first set, 25-22, when freshman Ella Green punctuated the win with a kill. 

The momentum carried over into the second set as the Red and Blue took control and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. The Quakers slowly pulled ahead of the Lions, but momentarily lost their drive as the Lions tied the set at 19-19. While it looked like the Lions were putting up a strong challenge to the Red and Blue, the Quakers were able to squeak out a second set victory by winning 25-21, and taking a 2-0 lead in the match.  

Even after their victorious two sets, the Red and Blue had to play catch up in the third set. The Quakers did not lead at any point during the set, but were able to tie it several times towards the end. Eventually, the Red and Blue fell short and lost the third set, 25-22. 

After coming up empty in the third set, Penn regained its focus and bounced back in the fourth. The Quakers won the set, 25-19, and were thus able to win the best of five by a margin of three to one.

“That is definitely something we wanted to prove,” senior Margaret Planek said in regards to winning the match in four. “We have had a couple of tough losses in four, so it was super important that we came out and had a great start getting the first two sets.”

Junior outside hitter Autumn Leak led the team in kills, finishing the game with 12 of them. Planek and Green also recorded double digit kill totals. Junior Caroline Douglas led the team in digs, while sophomore Jo Armstrong led the team with 24 assists. 

The Quakers looked to continue their winning streak in their next match against Cornell on Saturday, but lost 3-0. They'll try to regain their momentum on Friday at home against an intimidating Brown squad (12-3, 5-0).

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