NEW YORK The Penn volleyball team won its fourth straight game on the road Friday with a 3-0 defeat of Columbia (30-28, 30-16, 32-30). The Quakers (13-7, 6-2) continue to position themselves for a chance at the Ivy crown. The team entered play today two games behind first-place Princeton.
Senior Anna Shlimak narrowly missed her third straight double-double, as she tied for a team high with 11 kills and also contributed nine digs. Sophomore Natalie Drucker also had 11 kills and added three block assists. Freshman Julia Swanson had nine kills and a match-high 17 digs.
In the first game, Shlimak and Drucker led the team with five kills each as the Quakers held off a pesky Columbia club that had not scored more than 21 points in a three-game loss to Penn earlier this month in Philadelphia. Drucker and senior Linda Zhang teamed up for one of the Quakers’ two blocks while Zhang and Shlimak rejected another Columbia shot. Drucker pounded home the final kill to seal the tense 30-28 victory for Penn.
Junior Kathryn Turner led the way in the second game, recording six kills en route to a 30-16 romp that put the Quakers in firm control of the match. Shlimak added another four kills, but it was the defense that dominated the Lions in the first two games. Through those first two sets, the Quakers held Columbia to a paltry .048 hitting percentage, compared to their .264 percentage. They also had 42 digs to the Lions’ 31 through two games.
The Lions did not back down in the third game, though. After trailing 21-17, Columbia fought back and tied the score at 26. The score seesawed back and forth, and the Lions earned a side out to tie the score at 29. Again the Quakers took the lead only to see the Lions prevent them from earning a victory with a side out. Up 31-30, though, the Quakers finished the job and earned the 32-30 victory to seal the match. Drucker and Swanson had four kills each in the game. The Quakers also got big contributions from their bench, as Ashley Hawkins had three kills and Elizabeth Semmens pounded in two.
The Quakers return to action tomorrow afternoon when they face off with the Cornell Big Red at 4 p.m. in Ithaca. The game will be the fifth and final game in the Quakers’ five-game road trip. Thus far, Penn is a perfect 4-0 on the trip.