PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team made it a season sweep of Dartmouth on Saturday night, defeating the Big Green by a 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-18) margin at The Palestra. The Quakers won all six sets against the Big Green this season, who came into the match tied for second in the Ivy League standings.
It was a team effort for Penn (10-12, 4-6) offensively, as four Quakers registered at least seven kills. Penn also shared the load defensively, with four different players reaching double digits in digs.
Senior Alexis Genske was the top scorer, notching a team-best nine kills. Sophomore Kendall Covington hit a team-high .400 with eight kills, while senior Jasmine DeSilva had eight of her own. Alex Caldwell continued her strong play of late, chipping in seven kills. Classmate Ronnie Bither put together her tenth double-double of the season with 36 assists and 16 digs. Penn out-blocked the Big Green, 11-8.
The Quakers forced Dartmouth to hit .038, their second lowest hitting percentage of the season. Paige Caridi carried the load offensively with 12 kills, to go along with 13 digs. Emily Astarita, who came into the match leading the Ivy League in kills per set, chipped in seven kills.
In a tightly-contested first set that saw both teams open strong, the Quakers were able to gain separation following some Dartmouth sloppiness. A pair of Big Green errors, followed by kills from Genske and Caldwell, provided a 15-12 edge for Penn. The Quakers would go on to take a 17-14 lead, followed by a 22-19 advantage. Following a Big Green timeout, Dartmouth rallied with three consecutive points to tie the score at 22. Astarita staved off one Penn set point at 24-23, but back-to-back errors by Kaira Lujan and Molly Kornfeind handed the Quakers a 26-24 first-set win.
Penn kept the momentum rolling in the second set. After Dartmouth jumped out to a 5-2 lead, the Quakers answered with a 5-1 run to take a 7-6 edge. Penn started to pull away after a Michellie McDonald-O’Brien kill created a 15-12 edge and forced a Dartmouth timeout. The Big Green quickly burned their second timeout after Penn extended their lead to 17-12. DeSilva helped close the door for the Quakers, recording a kill at 22-17 and capping off the set at 25-19.
It was more of the same in the third, as Penn jumped out to a 10-6 lead. The Quakers kept a three-to-four point edge for much of the final frame, with DeSilva once again acting as a catalyst. She registered back-to-back kills to put the Quakers ahead 13-11, and then again to put Penn up 22-18. Three consecutive Big Green errors provided the final 25-18 margin for the Quakers.
Penn will complete its home schedule next weekend with matchups against Yale and Brown at The Palestra. It will begin with a date with the Bears on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Download: Penn-Dartmouth Box.pdf