Penn-Dartmouth Box Score (pdf)
Hanover, N.H. - Behind 21 kills from Kristen Etterbeek and helped by a whopping 18 service errors from Dartmouth, Penn outlasted the Big Green in five sets, 25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 20-25, 15-12. The Quakers have now swept Dartmouth in five consecutive seasons and handed the Big Green only their second home loss of the year. The Red and Blue earned the victory by hitting a match-high .400 in the do-or-die fifth set.
"The team hit a lull on Friday at Harvard. Harvard didn't play well in the match but we just played worse. I challenged to team to find something more for tonight's match and I think they focused and found a way to do that," said head coach Kerry Carr.
Flying out of the gate, Penn jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead after hitting .382 in the first set. Five players had multiple kills in the set for the Quakers in a balanced offensive attack, and a couple late attack errors were costly for Dartmouth in an evenly-matched opening stanza that featured 14 ties and nine lead changes.
The second set belonged to Etterbeek and Emma White, as the outside hitters supplied 15 of the 19 Penn kills in the frame. The Quakers quickly moved ahead 10-4 and maintained the six point lead at 15-9, drawing the final timeout out of the Dartmouth bench. The Big Green slowly began to draw nearer throughout the latter stages of the set and finally forced a tie at 21-21, the first of the set since 2-2. A service error on the subsequent point put Penn back ahead and Etterbeek's final kill of the set gave the Quakers a 23-22 edge. An attack error from Dartmouth gave the Red and Blue a pair of set points at 24-22, and after the Big Green had fought one off, White slammed down a ball from Meghan Connolly for the 25-23 win.
After an explosive first two sets from the Penn offense, the well suddenly went dry in the third. Hitting at a -.184 clip with five kills to 12 errors, Dartmouth easily dispatched the Quakers by a count of 25-16 to send the match into the fourth set.
"We came out of the break nervous and tentative," said Carr. "Dartmouth started playing out-of-its-mind defense and nothing seemed to be able to fall for us."
That trend continued into the fourth when it seemed the only thing that could stop Dartmouth was itself. The Big Green outhit Penn .359 to .025 in the set, yet the Quakers hung around as Dartmouth repeatedly shot itself in the foot. Six service errors in the set by the Big Green gave Penn the lead at 17-14 before Madeline Baird took over. Five kills in rapid succession by the Dartmouth offensive leader gave the team a commanding 23-19 lead and they finished the set off from there, staying alive with the 25-20 win.
The Quakers were cast into a familiar position as the match moved into a fifth and deciding set, albeit one that has provided few pleasant memories for the young squad. Penn went down 4-2 early on before Susan Stuecheli notched back-to-back points to draw the Red and Blue even again. The teams then alternated points all the way to 11-11.
"During every break and timeout, we were stressing our gameplan. How do we manage our emotions? If one attack isn't working, do we try to repeat it or switch it up?" said Carr. "It was a matter of one team finally breaking the streak and finding a way to go up by two points. The match was there for us to either win or lose, and I think that the way in which we played showed the growth of this team from earlier on in the season."
Etterbeek's 20th kill put Penn ahead 12-11 and Stuecheli, who had five of her 10 kills in the final set, finally gave the team the two-point lead they had been looking for, forcing a timeout from Dartmouth. On the subsequent point, a miscommunication from the Big Green resulted in a bad set and a 14-11 lead for the Quakers. Dartmouth was able to get one point back off a Baird kill, but at 14-12, Etterbeek ended the match single-handedly after a Dartmouth ball floated over to the Penn side of the net.
White wrapped up the match with yet another double-double, her seventh of the season, tallying 14 kills and 20 digs. Dani Shepherd had 26 digs to lead the defense, while Connolly and Hilary Ash handed out 27 assists each.
Penn improves to 7-13 and 3-7 in the Ivy League with the victory. The roadtrip isn't over quite yet for the Quakers, who travel to Yale and Brown next weekend. The Yale match is Friday at 7 p.m. and the trip wraps up on Saturday with a 5 p.m. showdown versus the Bears.