Cambridge, Mass. - Despite three players with 11 kills and abig defensive effort that saw five players reach double-figures in digs, Penn fell to Harvard on Friday night 3-1 (20-25, 24-26, 25-22, 20-25).
The trouble started early for Penn as Harvard capitalized on five Quaker errors to grab an 8-2 lead in the first set. The advantage would swell to 14-5 before Penn began to rally. Thanks to three kills from Emma White in the middle portion of the set and a litany of errors on the part of the Crimson, the Quakers would come back to knot the score at 18-18. However that's where the comeback would end for the Red and Blue, as Harvard tallied four straight points to open up a 24-19 lead on its way to the 25-20 victory.
The second stanza opened much like the first with a quick Harvard lead, but once again, Penn came storming back. Trailing 16-11, the Quakers took eight of the next nine points to grab a 19-17 edge and looked to tie the match at a set apiece. Penn came within two points of closingthe set leading 23-21 when Harvard called a timeout. Coming out of the break in action, the Crimson scored three points in a row to earn a set point. A kill from Kristen Etterbeek tied the set at 24-24 but a kill from the Crimson's Taylor Docter and a service ace gave Harvard the 2-0 lead.
The Red and Blue showed their fighting spirit in the third set, scoring five points in a row to go ahead 11-7. Spurred on by four kills from Etterbeek in the set, Penn went up 19-15 and found a way to squeak out the win in spite of Harvard coming back to tie the set at 21-21. Etterbeek's final kill of the set reclaimed a lead for the Quakers at 22-21 and the final three Penn points came off of Harvard attack errors, giving them the set at 25-22 and forcing the match into a fourth set.
The Crimson cranked up the offense in the fourth, hitting a match-high .235 in the set and taking full advantage of seven attack errors from Penn, as well as a pair of aces. Put in a hole at 17-8, the Quakers mounted one last rally, bringing the set to within 20-17 after three kills from White in quick succession, but it was not enough. Harvard responded with a three point burst to re-establish itself at 23-17 and cruised to the finish line, winning the set 25-20.
Etterbeek, White and Amanda Pacheco all ended the match with 11 kills, while Pacheco led all players with a .409 hitting percentage. Meghan Connolly was excellent once again as the primary setter in the match, racking up a career-high 38 assists along with 16 digs. Dani Shepherd led the defense with 26 digs.
The Quakers return to the court tomorrow night at Dartmouth. Match time is set for 5 p.m.
Download: Penn-Harvard Box Score.pdf