NEW HAVEN Penn entered itsmatch at Yale on Saturday looking across the net at a Bulldog team that had won its last seven matches and was unbeaten in Ivy League play including a win over 2007 Ivy League champion Princetonthe previousnight. With Penn reeling after dropping a close 3-2 decision to Brown the night before in Providence, and having to make the trek across state lines to Connecticut, momentum seemed to favor the Elis.
Not so fast, my friend.
The Quakers put the first blemish on the Bulldogs’ Ancient Eight record with a 3-2 (25-20, 10-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14) decision in John J. Lee Amphitheater.
With the win, Penn ups its record to 6-11 and 2-3 in Ivy League play. The Bulldogs drop to 11-4 and 5-1 in the Ivies.
Julia Swanson led the Quakers with 15 kills. Elizabeth Semmens pitched in with 14 and had only two attack errors. Ashley Hawkins rounded out the Penn players with double figures in kills as she added 10.
Megan Tryon was a force from the setter position, finishing the match with 53 assists. Her total matches her career high set her freshman season against Fairfield. She completed a double-double by adding 14 digs.
Madison Wojciechowski and Mary Russell were also factors on defense. Wociechowski finished with 25 digs while Russell added 13.
Yale was paced by Cat Dailey (25 kills) and Alexis Crusey (21 kills) while Ally Mendenhall made sure most of the offense went through her, contributing 57 assists.
Penn never trailed in the first set, establishing a presence early by jumping out to a 9-3 lead. Anne Magnuson had two kills in the early going to help quiet the Bulldog crowd and get Penn into the match. Yale cut Penn’s lead to 16-15 after two Swanson attack errors, but Penn regrouped after a timeout from acting head coach Ryan Goodwin and got the two points back when Swanson came through with two crucial kills. Kathryn Turner clinched the set with a kill off a Tryon assist.
Penn was never really close in the second set as the Bulldogs stormed back for a 25-10 win. The Yalies ran off nine points in a row to turn a 16-10 lead into the win.
The third frame set the tone for the remainder of the match and was as close as the 25-23 score indicates. Neither team led by more than two points in the entire set, and from the time the set was 12-10 in favor of Yale the match was tied nine times and featured three lead changes. Penn took the lead for good with a Hawkins kill at 20-19. The Bulldogs did manage to tie the set at 22-22, but Semmens took over andregistered three kills in the final four points to give Penn a 2-1 lead.
Penn looked to finish things off in the fourth set and took an early lead, but Yale rallied back and extended the match with a 25-22 win.
The Red and Blue fell behind quickly in the fifth and deciding set, trailing 5-2. Turner and Semmens helped Penn crawl back into the set with a pair of kills. The Bulldogs did not help themselves, as attack errors from Laurel Johnson and Alexis Crusey gave Penn its first lead of the set at 7-6. The lead for the Quakers was short-lived as Yale came right back to take an 11-9 lead.
Penn was not deterred. Hawkins, Semmens and Swanson each connected on kills to give Penn a 12-11 lead. After the Bulldogs took a 13-12 lead, Goodwin again called a timeout. Hawkins responded with a kill to tie the set again. The next point went Yale’s way off an attack error from the Quakers, forcing match point. Magnuson, the player who committed the error, regained that point when she combined with Hawkins to block a Cat Dailey attack to again knot the set, this time at 14-14.
Turner, Penn’s senior captain, put the Red and Blue in position to win with her ninth kill of the match. Dailey attempted to tie the set and prolong the match further, but her swing did not land in play and the match was Penn’s.
Penn is back in action onFriday, when the Quakers host Dartmouth in The Palestra. Penn will be participating in a Dig Pink! event that night, raising breast cancer awareness throughout the evening. For more information on the event as well as a link to donate to the Dig Pink! fund, please click here.