HANOVER, N.H. - For the Penn volleyball team, looking for its first Ivy League title since 2003, Friday's 3-1 win over Dartmouth (30-24, 30-27, 27-30, 30-19) was a big step. Senior Anna Shlimak recorded a career-high 19 kills to lead the Quakers (11-7, 4-2)to within a half game ofthe second-place Big Green (12-5, 5-2).
"Our senior captain really stepped up for us tonight," said head coach Kerry Carr. "She was there with the career-high in kills, and she was also able to come up with big service aces, digs, and blocks. This was exactly what we needed from Anna tonight."
Penn has now won five of its last six matches. The win in Hanover Friday marked the first road victory for the Quakers in the Ivy League.
Shlimak started the match quickly, recording seven kills and six of her 17 digs in the first game. The score was tight for much of the match, but after the Big Green evened it at 22-22, Penn rattled off eight of the next ten points for the victory. Freshman Julia Swanson contributed four kills, while senior Linda Zhang set up 16 of her 55 assists in the match.
Coming off the win in the first game, the Quakers jumped out to a 7-3 lead early in the second game. Dartmouth battled back, though, and tied the score at 7. After the teams exchanged points, Penn again seemed to take control, pulling out to a 22-16 lead. The relentless Big Green pulled to within one, though, at 23-22.
Again, Shlimak came up big for the Quakers, with one of her four kills in the game to regain the serve for Penn and give the team a little breathing room. Dartmouth continued to threaten, but could never tie the score and the Red and Blue eventually pulled out a 30-27 victory. Freshman Julia Swanson led the team with five kills in the game.
Despite a dogged defensive effort in the third game that saw the Quakers outblock Dartmouth 5-1, the Big Green's persistance paid off in the form of a 30-27 victory. Shlimak added six more kills and two block assists, while sophomore Natalie Drucker added four kills and two assists in the losing effort.
In the fourth game, the Quakers were picked up by two more of its veteran leaders. Senior Laura Black and junior Kathryn Turner had four kills each and Black added two block assists as the Quakers ran away with a 30-19 victory that sealed the match. Behind three services aces from Shlimak, the team ran out to a 10-3 lead.
Shlimak (19), Swanson (14) and Turner (12) all finished with double figure kills, while Drucker pounded in nine and Black added eight. Shlimak added three block assists and four service aces to go along with her 17 digs to round out her career night.
Freshman Madison Wojciechowski registered a match-high 20 digs, a stat that was not lost on Carr. "Madison was there for every dig," she said. "We had a solid defense and kept our intensity up all night tonight."
The team outblocked Dartmouth 10-6 and shot at a .230 clip for the match.
The Quakers are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. when they take on Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Video of the game will be available for Penn Sports Network subscribers.