Penn-Columbia Box Score (pdf)
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Penn fell in five sets to Columbia on Saturday, 27-29, 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 at Levien Gymnasium in New York City. Kristen Etterbeek paced the Quakers with a game-high 22 kills. With the loss, the Quakers fall to 6-9 (2-3 Ivy).
The first set would be indicative of the match as a whole as the two teams were tied on fifteen occasions in the opening stanza. After a Columbia attack error, Penn had two set points with a 24-22 lead, but failed to close it out. An attack error and a kill from the Lions tied the set at 24-24 and Columbia took just its second lead of the set at 25-24 off another kill. Amanda Pacheco and Susan Stuecheli then combined to fend off three match points with kills, but a ball-handling error on Columbia's fourth try gave them the 29-27 victory.
The Quakers quickly shook off any residual disappointment and forced a timeout from Columbia after taking a 4-1 lead early in the second. The Lions rallied to tie the set at 8-8 but Penn took off from there, grabbing control in the middle portion of the set thanks in large part to six kills from Pacheco and a perfect four kills on four attacks from Trina Ohms to cruise to a 25-21 win and tie the match at 1-1.
The third set was seemingly set up to be a carbon copy of the first, as the squads were tied on every point from 6-6 until 19-19. Locked in a heated battle, Columbia suddenly seized control of the set as a kill and service ace from Megan Gaughn gave the Lions a 21-19 advantage. Three of the final four Columbia points would come on Penn attack errors as the Lions gained a 2-1 lead with their 25-20 win.
Penn bit back in the fourth set, turning an 8-7 deficit into a 10-8 lead after three straight kills from Emma White, Ohms and Stuecheli. The Quakers wouldn't look back, never allowing Columbia to tie the set again and getting all the cushion they would need when they scored four consecutive points on Etterbeek's serve to go up 18-13. Tied at two sets apiece, Penn looked to grab its first five-set victory of the year.
Mistakes from the Quakers put them in an early hole. Columbia was gifted six of its first seven points in the final set from Penn attack errors. After a timeout to calm the nerves, White responded with a kill and Meghan Connolly's ace moved Penn within two at 7-5. Penn would actually come back to tie the set at 9-9, but Columbia responded from there, running off five of the next seven points to give itself match point with a 14-11 lead. Pacheco and Sarah Cobbinah teamed up for a block and Columbia gave Penn one back with an attack error to draw the Red and Blue to within 14-13, but an attack error from White, Penn's eighth of the set, gave Columbia the set and the match at 15-13.
Strong performances abounded again tonight for Penn. Kristen Etterbeek's 22 kills set a career high and junior Amanda Pacheco reached 20 kills for the first time in her career as well. Dani Shepherd's 39 digs led five Quakers in double-figures, the first time the team has done that since last season's regular season finale versus Princeton. Emma White added a double-double of 13 kills and 20 digs to her already-sparkling freshman résumé while fellow frosh Trina Ohms had the best game of her young career with eight kills.
Next up for the Quakers is a three-game homestand at The Palestra. Penn hosts Brown on Friday at 7 p.m., and Yale Saturday at 5 p.m. The Quakers wrap up the homestand with a rematch against Princeton on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.