Career Days Lift Volleyball Over Harvard, 3-1

Box score

PHILADELPHIA – Kathryn Turner pounded in a career-high 20 kills and Linda Zhang set up a personal-best 63 assists as the Penn Quakers won their sixth straight match, defeating the Harvard Crimson, 3-1 (25-30, 32-30, 30-20, 30-19). The win keeps the Quakers in second place in the Ivy League, just two games behind the Princeton Tigers.

Junior Kathryn Turner had 20 kills in the match, by far the most of any player in the match. Senior Laura Black was next with 14 kills. Senior Linda Zhang set up the match-clinching kill for her 63rd of the match, besting her previous career-high by a single assist. It marks the third-most assists in a match by any player in Penn volleyball history.

The first game opened with Penn taking an early 3-2 lead, but they played catch-up for the rest of the contest and, despite tying the Crimson several times, could not take the lead. In the end, they fell 30-25. Turner led the team with seven kills in the first game and sophomore Natalie Drucker was not far behind, pounding home six kills and a .625 hitting percentage. Black also registered six kills. Overall, though, the Quakers hit just .192 for the game to fall behind in the match, 1-0.

It appeared that the second game would be more of the same, as the teams stayed within a few points of each other for much of the contest. Harvard again started to pull away at the end, gaining a 29-26 advantage late before the Quakers earned a side out. With the score 29-28, the teams engaged in a marathon point that saw both teams save potential blocks and several powerful attacks thwarted before Turner registered one of her six kills in the game to even the score. With the Palestra crowd rocking, the Crimson was forced to call timeout. Although they prevented Penn from pulling away immediately, the Quakers rode the momentum to a 32-30 victory, evening the match heading into the intermission.

The long point proved to be the critical moment in the match, as Penn dominated the final two games. In Game Three, senior Anna Shlimak had four kills while Turner and Black added three each as a balanced scoring attack helped the Quakers take a 2-1 lead with a 30-20 victory. Although the game was close early, the Quakers rattled off an 8-0 run with freshman Megan Tryon serving to end the contest, extending a 22-20 lead into a 30-20 victory.

Shlimak, Black, and freshman Julia Swanson powered the deciding 30-19 victory in Game Four. Shlimak had five kills while Black and Swanson added four each. Meanwhile, the Quakers’ blocking game, which had been outdone by the Crimson for much of the match, finally turned up the heat and recorded four blocks in the game to finish with 10 in the match. Harvard had registered 10 by the end of the third game but was unable to reject a Penn shot in Game Four. Drucker had assisted on three of the blocks for the Quakers. When the Quakers weren’t stuffing the ball back onto the Harvard side, Zhang seemed to be there every time for an assist. She had 15 in the game to finish with 63.

The streaking Quakers will look to keep the Ivy League race interesting Saturday as they face Dartmouth at the Palestra at 4 p.m.