Penn 3, Harvard 0
PHILADELPHIA- Penn is officially on a winning streak as the Quakers have won three volleyball matches in a row, capped by a 3-0 sweep of Harvard in The Palestra on Saturday. Penn took the first set, 25-12, before winning two closer sets for the win, 28-26 and 25-20.
Itmarks the first time this season that Penn has won three matches in a row and is the longest winning streak for the Red and Blue since they won seven in a row from Oct. 16-Nov. 3 in 2007. The Quakers upped their overall record to 8-11 and are now above .500 in the Ivy League with a 4-3 mark.
Julia Swanson was the only player on either team to be in double figures in kills, picking up 19 in the match. The next highest player in kills was Elizabeth Semmens who registered nine.
Swanson picked up another double-double, adding 11 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Sophomore Megan Tryon also was in double figures in two statistical categories, leading Penn in assists with 37 and picking up 13 digs as well for her fifth double-double of 2008.
While Semmens broke a string of three-straight matches with at least 10 kills, she was a force at the net as she committed only three errors on her 27 chances and slamming in most of her kills with authority.
The first set’s lopsided score was a combination of Penn making timely attacks and Harvard’s inability to convert its own chances. Of the first 13 points in the match, Penn scored 12 of them for a 12-1 lead. Six of those were the result of attack errors from the Crimson. Four came on attacks from Penn’s hitters Swanson, Kathryn Turner (who had two) and Ashley Hawkins. The final two points were service aces one each from Madison Wojciechowski and Megan Tryon. From there, the set was evenly played as Penn outscored the Crimson, 13-11 for the win and a 1-0 lead.
The second set appeared to start out eerily similar to the first for Harvard, as Penn jumped out again, taking a 3-0 lead buoyed by two errors from Crimson attackers. A rout was not in the cards, however, as Harvard bounced back to tie the set with three-straight points setting off a pattern for the remainder of the set. The second frame was tied 10 total times up until the last tie at 26-26. In fact, Harvard controlled the middle stages of the set, leading by as much as four at 18-14. Two kills from Swanson brought the Quakers back within one at 18-17, and the Quakers finally took a lead they would not relinquish at 21-20. The lead change was part of a streak that saw the Red and Blue rattle off five points in a row to take a 23-20 lead. It was Swanson again who came through with a pair of kills to turn a one-point lead into a 23-20 advantage.
The Crimson would not go quietly though, scoring three in a row of their own to tie things back up at 23-23. A Swanson kill gave Penn set point, but the Quakers could not convert and the match headed to extra play. Penn had two chances to win at 24-23 and 26-25 but could not put the Crimson away. Finally, after a set error from Harvard’s Lily Durwood, Swanson finished the set with a swing from the outside.
Swanson and Semmens carried their play over to the third and final set, scoring 13 of Penn’s 25 points on attacks. Penn never faced a deficit in the third set, but Harvard did close within one at 14-13. Swanson ended the comeback hopes with a kill, adding three more down the stretch, including the clinching one off a Tryon set.
The Quakers are home again on October 31, hosting Columbia at 7 p.m. in The Palestra.