New Haven, Conn. -- The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team fell to Yale tonight, 3-1 (18-25, 14-25, 27-25, 21-25).Despite the loss, the Quakers accomplished a feat that no other team in the Ivy League has done this season - win a set against the Bulldogs. Penn is 7-8 overall, 1-3 Ivy League; Yale is 10-3 overall, 4-0 Ivy League.
Errors posed as a struggle in the first two sets for the Red and Blue, who were unable to reach positive ground in hitting percentage. However, Penn wasn’t the only team struggling at first, as Yale committed eight errors and only hit a .156 percentage. Both teams were playing out of character, but the Bulldogs were first to find a spark.
Set two began with an exchange of points, until Yale came to life after a service error by Penn. With the score tied at eight, Bulldog Kendall Polan went behind the line and helped her team take a three-point advantage, 11-8. After one possession by the Red and Blue, Yale went on a five-point run and the Quakers found themselves down by seven, 16-9. Penn could not find a rhythm and lost set two, 25-14. Up 2-0, the Bulldogs were on their way to another Ivy sweep, or so they thought.
Catching Yale off guard in the third-set, the Red and Blue powered their way to a 9-4 lead, with a service ace from Ronnie Bither, kills from Michellie McDonald-O’Brien and Alex Caldwell, and two attack errors by Bulldog Mollie Rogers. The Quakers were hitting strong and reached an attack percentage of .471, as they advanced the score to a 10-point gap, 18-8. After a kill from McDonald-O’Brien to make the score 21-14, Yale battled back to take the lead, 24-23. The match point never came for the Bulldogs, however, as Penn’s perseverance shown through.
The next point went to the Red and Blue, a kill by Caldwell tied the score at 24. Sophomore Alexis Genske claimed the next point, putting Penn back in the lead, 25-24. Once again, the score would even out but it would be for the last time. Genske put down another kill for the Quakers, giving them the advantage once more, at 26-25. An attack gone sour by Bulldog Karlee Fuller ended the set and Yale’s 20 consecutive set wins. The Red and Blue totaled 16 kills in set three with a hitting percentage of .286.
It was on to set-four, which produced exciting rallies by both teams. It was an even set until Yale pulled ahead by five-points in a row. Penn responded with four consecutive points but again fell behind by another five-point run from the Bulldogs, which advanced the score to 20-15. Points were traded between the two teams, but the Quakers could not catch up and fell, 25-21.
Senior captain Susan Stuecheli hit an even .500 percentage and led in kills with 10. Fellow senior captain Dani Shepherd led the defense with 27 digs.
Tomorrow, the Quakers will end their month long road trip against the Bears at 5 p.m.