Penn-Princeton Box Score (pdf)
PHILADELPHIA - Penn gave Ivy League co-leader Princeton everything it could handle on Friday night but the Quakers (6-12, 2-6 Ivy) came up short in the tightly-contested match, 3-0 (22-25, 21-25, 20-25). Kristen Etterbeek had a match-high 14 kills for Penn while Dani Shepherd added 28 digs defensively. Handling setting duties almost exclusively, Meghan Connolly had 32 assists.
Much like the matchup between the two squads last month at Princeton, all three sets featured huge momentum swings and multiple lead changes throughout. The first set was controlled by Princeton for a majority of the time, but a four-point spurt aided by three attack errors from the Tigers' Cathryn Quinn tied the set at 18-18 and necessitated a timeout from the Princeton bench. Just as Penn seemed to have turned the corner, the Tigers roared out of the break with four points of their own to seize control. A kill from Etterbeek and a Connolly ace helped to fight off two set points and pull back within two at 24-22, but Princeton was able to finish the set off on its next opportunity.
The Red and Blue jumped out to a 6-2 lead quickly in the second set, a run punctuated by a Shepherd ace. Penn maintained a lead for much of the set and appeared to have a good chance at evening the match at a set apiece as they led 18-16, but Princeton suddenly came to life, running off seven consecutive points before Emma White could put an end to the rally. Again, Penn tried to equalize late in the set, as Etterbeek scored and Connolly followed with her second ace, but the Tigers called time and then scored the final two points to take a 2-0 lead.
The third set followed the same script as the Quakers displayed no lack of confidence in the early-going, establishing an 8-4 lead off of four straight kills from Lauren Martin, Susan Stuecheli, Etterbeek and White. After Princeton tied the set at 9-9, Penn again got its offense in gear, scoring off kills from Etterbeek and Amanda Pacheco before the two combined for a block of Quinn to push the lead to 12-9. That would be the high-water mark for Penn in the set though, as three straight errors, one on serve and two on the attack, again leveled the score at 12-12. With the Red and Blue leading at 16-15, Princeton strung together another four-point rally which gave them all the cushion they would need in the 25-20 victory.
"The final score doesn't indicate how close tonight was," said head coach Kerry Carr. "We got Princeton out of its system for much of the match and we upped our defense incredibly. Offensively, we just made a couple of mistakes at key moments and that's the difference between a win and a loss. The game plan was there and the execution was there for long stretches. We'll come back next week and try to eliminate the spots where this match didn't break our way."
Penn will be on the road for the next two weekends. The road swing begins Friday at Harvard in a 7 p.m. match, followed by Dartmouth on Saturday, beginning at 5 p.m.