Penn-Dartmouth Box Score (pdf)
Hanover, N.H. - Behind a masterful performance from Susan Stuecheli, the Penn volleyball team had little trouble on Friday night, needing less than 90 minutes to dispatch Dartmouth, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-18). Stuecheli had a match-high 13 kills and hit .706 on the night. Alex Caldwell was one of three Quakers with six kills and added a team-high 12 assists. Dani Shepherd was the only player in the entire match to reach double-figures in digs with 18.
If there was a set where Penn (6-7, 1-1 Ivy) seemed to struggle, it was the first. Dartmouth actually had four more kills and assists than the Quakers in the set, and outhit Penn .154 to .118. So where did the Red and Blue find the points they needed? Four Quaker aces in the set combined with five serve errors from the Big Green more than made up for any offensive differential between the teams. Emma White started the match off with an ace on the first point, and after Stuecheli's only kill of the first set forced a Dartmouth timeout with Penn in the lead at 21-19, Meghan Connolly came out of the break in action with back-to-back aces to put the Quakers firmly in command. The final ace of the set came courtesy of Ronnie Bither to close the set out at 25-20.
The Penn attack began to click in the second set and Stuecheli was right in the middle of it. The junior middle blocker ran off all of her 13 kills on her final 13 attacks of the night, including six in both the second and third sets. After Dartmouth tied the set at 1-1, Stuecheli's first kill of the set gave Penn a 2-1 lead that would expand to 5-1 after a kill from Kristen Etterbeek, a Big Green attack error and another Stuecheli kill. Dartmouth would get no closer than three points the rest of the way and the Quakers cruised into the locker room, up 2-0 after a 25-15 win.
With the score tied 3-3 in the third set, a 6-0 run from Penn put the team in a great position. Despite the early hole they were in, the Big Green battled back, closing to within a point on three occasions but never finding a way to tie it up. With the score at 19-17 in favor of the Quakers, a 5-0 run was the dagger they needed to pull away for the sweep. Stuecheli and White had kills in that stretch, while an ace from Shepherd and a pair of blocks involving Amanda Pacheco put the match out of reach.
While no doubt an important win, Penn's work is far from over. The Quakers meet Harvard (3-10, 0-2 Ivy) tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Cambridge, Mass., looking to sweep their weekend up north and climb above .500 in the Ivy League standings.