After a close loss to the Yale Bulldogs, Penn volleyball was swept by the Brown Bears in a match that gave the Bears their first Ivy League Championship since 2001.
The Quakers (6-15, 3-9 Ivy) lost to Yale (15-6, 8-4), falling behind by seven points in the final game. In the moments preceding the final points, the Red and Blue held their own, turning the tide after losing the first game. Critical to Penn's efforts were a pair of upperclassmen in junior captain Autumn Leak and senior captain Carmina Raquel. Leak led Penn’s attack with 17 kills while Raquel was a defensive pillar accumulating 29 digs.
In the first game, Penn and Yale were tied up until a nine-point Yale run that resulted in a 25-17 victory over the Quakers. Not to be disheartened, Penn refused to back down, battling it out with the Bulldogs in the second game. The game was tight, with the Quakers remaining ahead, but never by more than 3 points. The red and blue secured the second game, 25-22, with outside hitters Daniela Fornaciari and Madeline McGregor making 4 kills and 3 kills respectively. In the third game (25-22), Penn found momentum after scoring nine consecutive points.
The Bulldogs responded, bringing the score closer, but the Penn attack was too strong with Leak, Fornaciari, and MacGregor tallying 13 kills. However, it wasn’t enough and the Bulldogs held on, trading points until they eventually succeeded in closing the fourth game 25-21. In the fifth set, Penn and Yale continued to trade points until the Bulldogs had a seven-point run. The Red and Blue refused to be deterred, but there just weren’t enough points left in the game for the Quakers to win, and the Bulldogs won the match.
Following the close loss in New Haven, Ct., the Quakers found themselves traveling to Rhode Island to face the top team in the Ivy League: the Brown Bears. Brown, motivated by a drive to acquire a championship title, was a deadly attacking force, hitting .380 overall to sweep the Quakers.
Penn started off by tying the score twice in the first game, with senior setter Kylie Kulinski serving an ace. But, Brown found a three-point lead and eventually won the game by a score of 25-19. The second game, Penn found a few two point leads until the Bears scored eight points in a row. That led to the Bears defeating the Quakers again in a 25-15 game. In the third set, Brown surged forward from a 6-6 tie, finding powerful runs of three straight points to win 25-15. Despite aggressive attacking plays by Lead and McGregor, Brown held the Quakers to just .143 hitting, deterring Penn from securing a game, much less the match.
Next week, the Quakers will battle it out with the Cornell Big Red (7-13) on Friday and the Columbia Lions on Saturday (5-16) to determine the final Ivy League rankings.