PHILADELPHIA - For the second time this season, Penn and Columbia went the distance, but tonight went the way of the Red and Blue as the offense hit 27 kills to only three errors in the final two sets to give the Quakers the come-from-behind,3-2 (30-28, 20-25, 20-25, 25-12, 15-9) win. Emma White had a career high 22 kills along with 17 digs and Susan Stuecheli added 10 kills and eight blocks.
The latter stages of the first set became a microcosm for the whole match as the teams fought tooth and nail to gain the early lead. Columbia controlled the early portion of the set and came within two points of a wire-to-wire win before the Quakers made their move. After trailing by as many as six points early on and still down 23-21, Penn evened the match for the first time after kills from Kristen Etterbeek and White. The next point went Penn's way again to give the Quakers their first set point. Trailing 24-23, the Lions recovered to score two in a row but White tied the score for a second time at 25-25. Thefront linestraded blows overthe next six pointswith kills and blocks, only to find the score still knotted at 28-28. After a Columbia attack error gave Penn its fourth set point, the Quakers finally took advantage with Etterbeek supplying the kill off White's lone assist of the match.
White and Etterbeek continued their assault early in the second set, combining for a 3-0 Penn lead out of the gates. Columbia stayed close and then took over, scoring five in a row at one point in staking itself to a 10-7 lead after three kills from Madeline Rumer. The Quakers' offense was effective in the set, but couldn't keep up with the 18 killsversus only one error that Columbia put forth. White's fifth kill of the second set and 13th of the match pulled Penn to within 23-20 but Megan Gaughn tied the match at one set apiece with two kills to end it.
Momentum continued to swing Columbia's way into the third as the Lions took the early 3-0 lead. Despite a Penn rally that evened the set at 17-17 and forced a timeout from the Columbia bench, the Lions roared out of the break in action with five straight points to regain control at 22-17. Tori Manix provided a respite for the Quakers as her defense and serve pulled Penn back within three points, but Columbia persevered and took a 2-1 lead after two late Heather Braunagel kills.
With their backs to the walls, the Quakers came to life in the fourth set. Outhitting Columbia .417 to .083, Penn made quick work of the Lions, taking the lead at 3-2 and never looking back. Etterbeek had five of her 16 kills in the fourth and Amanda Pacheco had four of her 14 in the stanza as well, but the offense wasn't the only culprit in the turnaround. The Red and Blue denied Columbia three times at the net while the Lions never returned the favor, and Etterbeek had six digs in the fourth on her way to a team-high 19 in the match. While it was a total team effort that put Penn in the position to send the match into a fifth set, Stuecheli put the final nail in the coffin with a kill and block on the final two points en route to the 25-12 win.
After putting on a dominating display in the fourth, Penn carried that swagger into the fifth set. A Columbia attack error on the first point put a long rally to bed and gave the Quakers a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Two kills from Stuecheli, as well as one each from White and Pacheco, put the Quakers up 5-0 immediately. The Lions pulled within four at 7-3 but Stuecheli combined with Trina Ohms on a block to put Penn back up by five, and Columbia would never get closer. Fittingly, two kills from White put the finishing touches on the night.
Hitting .268 as a team in the match, Penn's attack was at its most effective sincea 3-0 win over La Salle in which they hit .279. With 42 assists on the night, Meghan Connolly established a career high to go along with nine digs. Logan Johnson chipped in with 12 digs as well.
The Quakers close out their season tomorrow night at 5 p.m. against the Cornell Big Red.
Download: Penn-Columbia Box Score.pdf