PHILADELPHIA -The Quakers dropped a five-set thriller on Friday night at the hands of Harvard, ending Penn's 11 match winning streak and leaving the team a victory shy of clinching the Ivy title outright.
The Red and Blue can still take sole possession of the Ancient Eight crown if they beat Dartmouth tomorrow or Princeton on Wednesday. On Friday however the Crimson were upset minded, taking the first 25-22, and two of the final four, 12-25, 27-25 16-25 and 15-10 for the win.
Penn out dug the Crimson 98-75 and had more kills, 82-50, however the team had ten service errors to Harvard's three and six less blocks than the Crimson. Junior Madison Wojciechowski dug 39 balls in the loss, finishing one dig shy of matching her school record of 40 digs set last season. Senior Elizabeth Semmens finished with 24 kills while freshman Lauren Martin added a career-high 22.
In the first set Harvard came out like world-beaters, taking a 6-2 lead to open play. Penn regrouped and used a 7-3 run to knot the set at nine. The Quakers were unable to take the lead as the teams exchanged points until a Penn service error and attack error put the Crimson up 21-18.
Harvard pushed the set to 23-19, before a 3-0 run put Penn back within two, prompting a Crimson timeout. Anne Ingersoll got a kill out of the break for the Crimson and then a Penn attack error ended it 25-22.
The Red and Blue responded in the second set, scoring seven consecutive points early to go up 10-4. A Harvard kill ended the run but six straight points pushed the Quaker lead up to ten at 16-5. The two teams traded points for the remainder of the set as Penn held the Crimson to a -.032 attack percentage, in winning 25-12.
In the third set, the two teams were unable to separate themselves from each other and neither had a lead greater than two until a Harvard attack error put the Quakers up 12-9. Penn pushed the lead to 17-13 and maintained a four point advantage at 21-17, before a Crimson attack error made it 22-17, initiating a timeout from the visitors.
The break in action worked for Harvard as it went on a 6-1 run to tie the set up at 23 apiece. A Martin kill put Penn up 24-23, but the Crimson matched it with a kill of their own to make it 24-24. Another Martin kill made it 25-24, however a service error tied it up once again and a Penn attack error and a kill from Harvard's Taylor Docter ended it 27-25.
Penn wouldn't trail in the fourth set, as the Quakers went up 7-4 and pushed the lead to 15-8 on a kill from Martin. The Crimson tried to come back, getting within three at 16-13, but a 5-2 run made it 21-15. A Harvard kill did little to stop the bleeding as the Red and Blue closed out the set with four straight points, 25-16.
Penn jumped out to an early 5-2 advantage in the final set. The Crimson however scored three straight to tie it up and the two teams traded points until a Christine Wu service ace made it 9-7 in favor of Harvard. The ace caused Penn to take a timeout, however it didn't help as the Crimson took four of the next six points to go up 13-9. A kill from Semmens put the Red and Blue within three, however it wouldn't be enough as two consecutive Harvard kills ended the match 15-10.
Docter led the Crimson effort, as she had 13 kills and seven total blocks, while libero Christine Wu served up four aces and added 24 digs.
In addition to her 24 kills, Semmens added 20 digs, while junior Julia Swanson had 16 kills and 16 digs. Junior setter Megan Tryon set a career-high with 68 assists, the fourth highest total in school history.
The loss ends drops Penn to 20-5 on the season and 11-1 in the Ivy League, while Harvard improves to 12-12 overall and 8-5 in the conference. The Quakers return to action on Saturday when they host Dartmouth at 4 p.m.
Live stats will be available for the match against Dartmouth, however a live video feed will not be available.
Download: Penn Stats.pdf