NEW HAVEN, Conn The Penn volleyball team’s hopes of an Ivy League title were dashed Friday night as they fell to the Yale Bulldogs, 3-1 (30-25, 30-27, 26-30, 30-19). The Quakers (16-8, 9-3) were led by 14 kills from senior Anna Shlimak and 11 by senior Laura Black, accompanied by 41 assists by senior Linda Zhang.
“It was a defensive battle,” said head coach Kerry Carr following the loss. “We were able to out-block them and out-dig them, but they finished more kills than we did, and that was the key.” Indeed, both teams registered at least 100 digs in the contest and neither squad could muster even a .200 hitting percentage as defense dictated the match.
The first game started off well for Penn, as they controlled the first half of the game and led 17-13 before the Bulldogs went on a 10-1 run to take a 23-18 lead and never looked back. Shlimak had five kills and a solo block in the game, but it was not enough to hold off Yale.
A balanced attack could not keep Yale from continuing their dominance over the Quakers this season in the second game. Three kills each from Shlimak, Black, junior Kathryn Turner, and sophomore Natalie Drucker paced Penn, but Yale led throughout as they took a 2 games to none lead in the match.
The Bulldogs had won the first five games of the season against Penn, which had lost just one other Ivy League match coming into play Friday. The Quakers would finally break through in the third game, though, claiming a 30-26 victory. Shlimak, Black, and freshman Julia Swanson each had four kills to lead the team and keep their chances alive heading into a fourth game, but Yale took control early and never relinquished in the fourth game as they outdistanced the Quakers, 30-19.
“We have to come back tomorrow and be ready to face a real pesky Brown team,” said Carr after the loss. Despite seeing their title hopes fall by the wayside, the Quakers still hope to finish the season on a winning streak. They will be back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. against Brown in Providence before concluding the season Wednesday against Princeton back home at the Palestra.