Yale 3, Penn 2 Box Score
PHILADELPHIA - Penn needed a miracle to stay in the Ivy League title race entering the weekend and after dropping a 3-2 decision to Yale in an exciting match at The Palestra, the Quakers title hopes are dashed.
However, if the play of Penn's young players is any indication, there will be many more title chances in store for the Red and Blue over the next few years.
Sophomore Madison Wojciechowski continues to rewrite Penn's record books. Two weeks after setting the school record for digs in a match with 40, she smashed her own record of digs in a season. Entering the match, she had 444 digs and needed 13 to eclipse her record of 457 that she set last season. "Mojo" added 29 against the Bulldogs, setting the mark now at 473 with two matches to play.
Sophomore Julia Swanson had her 12th double-double of the season, picking up a team-high 17 kills to go with her 19 digs. Junior Elizabeth Semmens added 13 kills to only four errors on 33 attempts. Her 177 kills this season is just four behind her two-season total of 181.
Not to be outdone is senior co-captain Kathryn Turner. She entered the match tied for third in block assists all-time at Penn with 269. She picked up four in her penultimate Palestra match to take over sole possession of second on the Quakers' all-time list, passing Kari Sommerstad's 272.
Trailing in the match, 2-1, entering the fourth set, Penn forced the deciding set with spirited play at the end of the frame. The Quakers trailed, 14-12, and were on the brink of losing. Swanson came through with two kills to stop the rally and Turner added one of her own. Combined with a Yale attack error, Penn took a 16-14 lead.
Yale retook the lead at 22-21 on the strength of an Alexis Crusey kill and looked to have then taken a 24-21 lead on what was first called a service ace by Cat Dailey. However, the refs conferred and determined the serve had landed out of bounds and awarded the point to Penn. The switch in favor seemed to throw off the Bulldogs and Crusey erred on her next two swings to give Penn a 24-23 lead. Swanson followed up with an impressive kill off a Megan Tryon set to force a fifth set.
The final set was filled with great plays on both sides. Long rallys and athletic digs were the norm in the set as neither team wanted to lose. Neither team led by more than two until the final point went in favor of Yale, which took the set, 15-12, and the match 3-2 (25-18, 19-25, 25-29, 23-25, 15-12). Penn led 12-10 late in the set, but two attack errors let Yale back in the set. Dailey then followed with three of her 22 kills for the win.
Penn takes to the court on Saturday afternoon for its final home match of the 2008 season at 4 p.m. when the Brown Bears arrive at The Palestra. Before the match, Penn will honor its two senior co-captains, Stephanie Gwin and Kathryn Turner.