Penn-Dartmouth Box Score (pdf)
PHILADELPHIA - Coming off an emotional win on Friday night against Harvard, the Penn volleyball team made sure there was no Saturday letdown thanks to an extraordinary defensive effort. Led by eight blocks from Susan Stuecheli and 28 digs from Dani Shepherd, the Quakers held Dartmouth to a hitting percentage of only .079 in the match. That, combined with a well-rounded offensive attack, helped the Red and Blue to a 25-16, 25-15, 25-22 win on Saturday afternoon in The Palestra.
The two teams went back and forth early on in the first set until Penn reeled off four straight with a kill from Emma White, followed by an Elizabeth Horner service ace and two solo blocks from Stuecheli. Though Dartmouth used a timeout to slow down the Quakers and did cut the lead to two after that, Stuecheli reignited the Penn rally with three more rejections in short order, two of them with Lauren Martin as well as her third solo block of the first set. With the lead upped to 15-9, the Red and Blue cruised the rest of the way. Kristen Etterbeek led the team with four kills in the set while Stuecheli added three on only four attacks.
The blocks kept coming in the second set. With the score all square at 5-5, a solo block from Michellie McDonald-O'Brien gave the Quakers a 6-5 lead they wouldn't lose the rest of the way. Horner came back with her second ace of the set before a White kill and block from McDonald-O'Brien and Ronnie Bither gave Penn a 9-5 edge and once again forced a break in the action from the Dartmouth sideline. The Quakers continued to gradually extend their lead, never giving the Big Green much opportunity to string points together. Though Dartmouth's Paige Caridi had five kills in the second set, the rest of the Dartmouth squad only had one combined. Etterbeek and Shepherd each notched eight digs in the set to further complicate matters for the Big Green and the final three points of the set went Penn's way in a 25-15 win.
The third set was by far the most competitive of the match, but the Red and Blue fought back from a deficit for the first time all day to bring home the sweep. An early 9-5 lead in the set made it seem that the Quakers would have a cakewalk to the finish line, but Dartmouth stormed back with seven of the next eight points to take a 12-10 advantage. Penn came right back to tie it and the two teams trade side-outs for much of the remainder of the set. With the score knotted at 22, Etterbeek put the Quakers back in front and Martin took over from there, teaming with Stuecheli on one last block and ending the match with a soft hit into the open middle of Dartmouth's defense to give Penn the 25-22 victory.
White once again came through with a double-double for the Quakers, leading both teams with 11 kills and also contributing 11 digs. Stuecheli had nine kills in addition to her eight blocks (three solo, five assists) and Martin added seven kills and five block assists. Alex Caldwell led Penn with 20 assists in the match.
Penn (12-9, 7-3 Ivy) will bring a three-match winning streak into next weekend when they host they Ivy League-leading Yale Bulldogs on Friday night at 7 p.m. Senior Night is next Saturday at 5 p.m. against the Brown Bears.