PHILADELPHIA – The six-match winning streak came to a halt for the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team, as the Quakers fell to Brown in a five-setter (25-23, 25-17, 16-25, 22-25, 13-15). The loss drops the Red and Blue to 14-10 overall, 8-5 Ivy. Currently, Penn is in a three way tie for second place with Harvard and Brown, with one more match remaining this season.
Senior captain Susan Stuecheli started the first set off with a kill, which was followed by another one from junior Kendall Turner, giving the Red and Blue the lead, 2-0. A few serves later, Turner paired up with sophomore Alexis Genske for the block to keep the Quakers within one, 4-5. Penn went on a roll as Genske notched a service ace, Turner knocked down another kill, and senior captain Kristen Etterbeek added a second kill. Brown kept the match tight and had a 23-22 advantage. The Red and Blue answered back with three consecutive points – a kill from sophomore Jasmine DeSilva, a kill from Genske, and a service ace by senior captain Dani Shepherd – to take the first set, 25-23.
In the second set, the Quakers found themselves down by one early and once again responded with four unanswered kills -- one each from sophomore Alex Caldwell and DeSilva followed by two from Etterbeek -- to lead, 7-4. After a service error by the home team, the Red and Blue picked right back up where they started and took another three points in a row, to go up 10-5. Penn committed another error but followed it with five more points. The Quakers quickly jumped out to a 15-6 lead, with big points at 14 and 15 -- a block from DeSilva and Turner then a kill blasted by DeSilva -- causing the Bears to call time and regroup. However, the deficit was too big of a hole to climb out of and Genske finished the set with a kill, 25-17.
With a ten-minute break, it seemed as if it was going to be another 3-0 win for the Red and Blue. That thought quickly dissolved after the teams that returned to the court.
The Quaker defense struggled, as Brown jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third set and continued the attack, taking set three, 25-16. The fourth set started the same with the Bears leading, 5-0. Penn slowly closed the gap but came up three points short, 25-22. The familiar five-set scenario ensued, but the tables were turned as Brown remained in control, snapping the Red and Blue’s six-match win streak.
Four Quakers finished with a double-double –Etterbeek (16 kills, 11 digs), Genske (14 kills, 15 digs), Caldwell (22 assists, 17 digs), and sophomore Ronnie Bither (25 assists, 14 digs). Also dishing out double-digits were DeSilva (10 kills) and Shepherd (27 digs). The team also put up double-digits in blocks (12), with Turner contributing seven block assists.
Penn will prepare and honor its three seniors in the final match against Yale tomorrow, with hopes of finishing the season on a high note.