PHILADELPHIA It was a night of history at The Palestra Wednesday, as the Penn volleyball team said goodbye to four seniors and the Princeton Tigers said hello to a perfect Ivy League season. The Quakers fell to Princeton, 3-1 (30-27, 30-19, 25-30, 30-26). Freshman Julia Swanson led the way for the Red and Blue with 20 kills, while freshman Madison Wojciechowski had a match-high 26 kills.
Before the match opened, seniors Laura Black, Meredith Laning, Anna Shlimak and Linda Zhang were honored in the Senior Night ceremony. The seniors and their parents were presented with bouquets by head coach Kerry Carr and her coaching staff.
While the seniors were playing their last game, freshman Madison Wojciechowski put her name in the record books with 26 digs, giving her 457 for the season. That total blew away the previous season record, 436 by Kari Sommerstad in the 1985 season.
In the first game, Shlimak did all she could to give the Quakers an early lead on the Ivy League champions, pounding home seven kills on .400 hitting. Black also had three kills, and freshman Julia Swanson added four. The teams remained close for much of the match, with neither side able to put together much of a run. The Tigers were too much, though, as they hung on for a 30-27 win.
In the game, freshman Madison Wojciechowski came up with nine digs, giving her 440 on the season. With the sixth dig, the freshman etched her name into the Penn record books, passing Kari Sommerstad for the most digs in a single season in Quaker history. Sommerstad had 436 digs in the 1985 season.
The second game saw the Quakers get off to a hot start, taking a 10-5 lead early. After that, though, the Tigers turned up the heat and ran out to a 29-14 lead. With Meredith Laning serving, the Quakers put together a five-point run, but it was too little, too late as Princeton took a 30-19 decision. Kathryn Turner had three kills and three block assists in the losing effort. Sophomore Natalie Drucker combined with Turner on two of the Quakers’ three blocks in the frame.
After the intermission, the Quakers got to work. Game Three saw them take control early and hold onto a six or seven point margin for much of the contest. A late Tiger run was not enough to sweep Penn, as the Quakers held on for a 30-25 victory. Freshman Julia Swanson had seven kills in the game, and Laura Black added four two consecutive as the Tigers looked like they might be climbing back into it. Also in the game, Zhang passed the 500 assist mark for the season with her 30th of the game. She ended the season with 524.
It looked like the Quakers could send the match to a fifth game when they held a late lead in Game Four. This time, though, the Tigers completed the comeback, and finished a perfect Ivy League season with a 30-26 victory in the game. Swanson and Drucker had six kills each in the game.