PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team closed out its 2013 campaign tonight in The Palestra, as it was the final time the three seniors -- Kristen Etterbeek, Dani Shepherd, and Susan Stuecheli -- suited up for the Red and Blue. Unfortunately, the match didn't have athe fairy-tale ending as the Quakers fell to the Ivy League champions in three. The Bulldogs proved why they are the three-time reigning champs and ended the season with a near perfect Ivy record of 13-1.
The Quakers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first set, after a service ace by Etterbeek, block by Stuecheli and sophomore Alexis Genske, and attack error by Yale. The lead was short lived, as the Bulldogs came charging back and finished the set with a kill, 25-15.
Penn took the first point of the second set but quickly found themselves down and were unable to come back up for air, falling 25-17. In the second set loss, junior Trina Ohms contributed five of the Red and Blue’s 11 kills with a .625 hitting percentage.
After the Quakers took a 7-6 lead in the third set, Yale came up with six-straight points to put them ahead, 12-7. Penn began to build some momentum with a kill from sophomore Alex Caldwell and a service ace from junior Meghan Connolly. The Bulldogs took two more points but started finding themselves losing an eight-point lead. The Quakers were heating up. Stuecheli and Etterbeek paired up for a block which was followed by a kill from Ohms. The two senior captains would then take two more points for the Red and Blue with solo blocks, forcing Yale to call time. After the Bulldogs took a point, Penn went back at it, gaining three more points from two kills – by Ohms and Genske – and an attack error by Yale. It was then that the Bulldogs put it into high gear and polished off the third set, 25-21.
Leading the attackers was Genske, who put up nine kills, while Ohms finished with zero errors and seven kills (.467). Pacing the offense with double-digit assists was Caldwell (18). On defense, Shepherd dished out 19 digs and Etterbeek totaled 12.
Penn closes the season with a record of 14-11 overall, 8-6 Ivy, but what the record doesn’t reflect is the accomplishments and growth the team made this season. They were resilient in the face of adversity, working through injuries and position changes. Penn never gave up, even when the team was down, and always put their hearts into the game.