Ithaca, N.Y. - Despite a second consecutive triple-double from Alex Caldwell on Saturday, the Penn volleyball team fell victim to Cornell in the season finale, 3-1 (15-25, 25-20, 23-25, 19-25). Caldwell's seventh triple-double of the season saw her end with 10 kills, 19 assists and 11 digs. Emma White tied Caldwell for the team lead in kills with 10 and added 15 digs for her 16th double-double of the season. Penn wraps up the season at 13-12 with an 8-6 record in Ivy League play.
Cornell came out at a blistering pace in the first set, hitting .419 as a team with 14 kills and a lone attack error. The Big Red scored the first five points of the match, and though senior Lauren Martin tried to keep the Quakers in it with four of her eight kills coming in the first set, Penn could never close within three from that point on. Martin's final kill of the set made the score 19-15 in favor of Cornell, but they went on to score six straight to grab the 1-0 lead in the match.
Penn showed its composure in the second set to tie the match at 1-1. Cornell tied the score on a handful of occasions but the Quakers never let the Big Red get out in front. With the score knotted at 10-10, White put Penn up with her second kill of the set and Cornell then lent the Quakers a hand with three straight attack errors. Amanda Pacheco helped her team get to the finish line with a pair of kills and a block in the late going of the 25-20 victory.
The Quakers performed well offensively in the third set, but once again couldn't find an answer to the Cornell attack. Three players for the Big Red had five kills in the third set alone. Though five service errors showed that Cornell could still on occasion be its own worst enemy, the Big Red more than made up for it when they kept the ball in play. Penn's final lead came at 22-21, but Kelly Marble delivered three of her five kills in the set from that point, leading the home team to the important 25-23 win.
The Penn offense sputtered in the fourth and final set, giving Cornell all the help they would need to get the win on Senior Night. The Quakers had 11 attack errors and hit .000 in the fourth, yet still found themselves with a tight match on their hands for much of the set. The final tie of the set came at 16-16 before the Big Red closed on a 9-3 run to get the victory.
Though the team didn't end the season how they hoped, the 2012 campaign still offered quite a bit of promise for the future of Penn volleyball. Freshman Ronnie Bither led the team with 17 double-doubles on the season and Caldwell has shaped herself into an all-around force within the Ivy League. White ends the year leading the team in kills at nearly three a set and will have two years remaining in the Red and Blue. A talented junior class that includes national digs leader Dani Shepherd and Ivy League blocks leader Susan Stuecheli will be counted on heavily as they go in search of a second league championship in their final seasons.
The Quakers wrap up the year with 2,067 digs as a team, breaking the single-season digs record previously held by the 2009 squad. The team that year had 1,981 digs in 29 matches while this year's team set the record in only 25 matches. Shepherd's total of 617 digs breaks Madison Wojciechowski's single-season individual mark from that year as well. Wojciechowski had held the record prior to tonight with 607.
Download: Penn-Cornell Box Score.pdf