PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Penn volleyball team rebounded from its first loss in eight games last night to claim victory Saturday in its final road match of the season, a 3-2 defeat of Brown in Providence (20-30, 23-30, 30-26, 30-27, 15-12). The Quakers fell behind 2-0 before charging back to take the match in five games. With 15 kills in the match, senior Laura Black became just the fourth player in program history to record at least 1,000 kills. She now has 1,002 with one match to go in her collegiate career. Senior Anna Shlimak tied a career high with 19 kills to lead Penn (17-8, 10-3) to the victory.
After losing their chance at an Ivy League title last night with a 3-1 loss at Yale, the Quakers came out slow in the first two games, losing 30-20 and 30-23. Black led the Quakers with five kills in the first game, and freshman Megan Tryon, who got the start over senior Linda Zhang, set up 13 successful attacks. The second game was highlighted by four kills on .571 shooting from sophomore Natalie Drucker, but the Quakers once again could not overcome the Brown attack.
Down 2-0, head coach Kerry Carr shook up the starting lineup, giving sophomore Shannon Moody, senior Meredith Laning, and freshman Nicole DeCuir time. The team responded to the shake-up, taking a 30-26 decision. The game was close throughout, but after a Shlimak kill evened the score at 22, the Quakers never looked back. Shlimak had five kills in the game, while Drucker and sophomore Anne Magnuson had four each.
On Friday against Yale, Penn found itself down 2-0 only to earn a hard-fought victory in the third game. That time, their efforts went for naught as the Bulldogs rebounded in the fourth game to clinch the match. Remembering that, the Quakers were determined to finish the job on Saturday.
Like Game Three, the fourth game was tight throughout, with Brown holding the upper hand for much of the contest. Although it looked like the Quakers would be able to hold them off when they took a late 25-22 lead, the Bears came back and tied the match at 27. A kill by Drucker and two Brown errors gave Penn a victory in the fourth game and all the momentum heading into the deciding Game Five. Shlimak had seven kills in the game to lead the Quakers. Drucker also had five kills to help get Penn the victory.
Nothing would come easy for Penn on Saturday, and despite the shift in momentum, the Bears would not go away. After Penn jumped out to a seemingly-safe 12-7 lead in the fifth game, Brown fought back and pulled to within one at 12-11 before the Quakers pulled away. The second of four kills for Black in the game, which made the score 4-3 early on, was number 1,000 in her Penn career. She added two more, including the clincher that gave the Quakers a 15-12 victory. The last kill was set up by Tryon, who had Penn’s match-high 52 assists. Freshman Madison Wojciechowski had 34 of Penn’s 111 digs, tops among all players.
With the road schedule now complete, the Quakers have just one match remaining in the 2007 season. They will return home to the Palestra Wednesday to take on first-place Princeton on Senior Night at 7 p.m.