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Quakers threaten, Yale closes door to win 3-1

By David F. Pendrys [Official Box Score from Yale Athletics]

NEW HAVEN, CT – The visiting Penn Quakers made it interesting by winning set 3 to prevent a Bulldogs sweep but ultimately Yale would prevail Friday night in the Ivy League women’s volleyball contest.

In set one, Yale raced out to a 9 to 4 lead earning quick time out from their opponents. The stoppage momentarily worked as Penn’s Parker Jones and Kendall Covington combined on a block, Jones spiked the ball off the Yale blocking line and a Bulldog error made the score 9-7. However Yale rebounded quickly. After some point trading Kathryn Attar teed up a cross court spike just in bounds. Another home team kill followed, before Attar struck again. Penn committed an error and Yale’s Kate Swanson served up an Ace to bring the score to 16-8.

Penn could only give chase at that point as the score was quickly 21-14. Penn’s Sydney Morton hacked the ball through the front line but it would be all Yale after that. Kelley Wirth’s spike took back the momentum, a good dig from Tristin Kott kept the ball alive so eventually Gray Malias could send a later attack in. Two Penn errors ended the set 25-15. Penn had managed a meager .027 hit percentage to Yale’s .314 during the back and forth.

The second set would be far more evenly matched as each team hustled to a 12-12 tie. Penn had led at a few points early on with Yale giving close chase. Malias had multiple kills in the opening moments, and Attar used a variety of techniques to score points. Penn’s Courtney Quinn and Jones provided much of the early offense as well.

Wirth and Attar would let loose consecutive kills to give Yale a lead, especially after a Quakers error. As the set stood at 15-12, a Yale service error and a Quinn service Ace cut the lead to 1, but Kott delivered 3 kills including an absolute blast while Penn managed one point to put the affair at 18-15. Penn called another time out and rallied back to 18-18 off the hands of a Jones crushed attack, a Covington whap and an Ace from Morton.

It would be Izzy Simqu who would respond for Yale this time with two big kills. Another Penn error put them down by 3 again. Brooke Behrbaum sent it to the gap for Penn but Attar killed the momentum with a big kill. Penn regained it when Hayley Molnar sliced a cross court ball, and Covington put down an errant Yale pass. It was Yale’s turn to call time at 22-21, but the emergency was momentary as Wirth struck again twice to make it set point. Penn managed one more kill but a serve out of bounds ended it 25-22. Yale had an even better .406 hit percentage, though Penn’s .276 was a dramatic improvement.

After a brief intermission Yale exploded out of the gate to a 7-2 lead in set 3 off as Wirth and her teammates kept scoring. A Yale error and a block from Raven Sulaimon and Covington stopped the run at 7-4. Yale however started a new run when Destiny Daniel walloped a ball into the Penn zone, and Kott picked up two successive points.

The momentum turned again during a fierce volley back and forth which ended with Morton smartly setting the ball to the back gap of the Yale zone. Behrbaum’s block, and kill from Quinn, and two more from Jones helped Penn cut the lead to 13-11. After some point trading Yale sent a spike into their own net and the lead was 14-13 and a time out ensued.

However, Caroline Raquel blocked the next Yale attack to tie the game. Penn grabbed a quick lead thanks to a rocket of a kill from Sulaimon and a spike from Morton. Daniel responded slamming the ball off a Penn player’s dig attempt and out of bounds, but Jones answered.

Yale’s Malias and Franny Arnautou got the lead back with kills to cause a Penn time out, but that the Quakers pulled it together quickly. The set rose to 20-20 as Jones landed two more kills and Attar had her own, but Yale spiked a ball out of play to give Penn the lead again. Sulaimon’s spike and an ace from Jones swung the set to 23-20. Yale tried to get back but the set ended 25-23 off a Bulldog error. Penn unsurprisingly had their best hit percentage of the match with .361 and Yale’s dropped to .243.

The Bulldogs were not about to give up this match though and in set four they climbed to a 9-3 lead early. A run that Attar had a major part in with at least 4 kills and a service ace just in bounds for the ninth point. Penn called time to regroup but they could only pursue as the set was soon 20-11. Attar, Malias, Kaitlyn Gibbons and others were responsible for much of the offense. Penn’s offensive experts tried to pull in more points but a Malias kill, Megan Rasmussen Ace, and a light attack from Daniel closed it out 25-13. Yale managed this with their lowest hit percentage of the match, a .214. Penn however put up a .029.

Jones had 12 kills to lead Penn, Quinn scored 7, Sulaimon 6, and Morton and Molnar each had 5. Morton’s .714 hit percentage (on limited tries) led the team. Sulaimon had a .455. Of the primary attackers with double digit attacks, the hit percentages were lower.

For Yale, Attar’s1 9 kills led the team, Malias had 13, Wirth 12, Simqu 7, and Kott 6. Malias had a .545 hit percentage, Simqu .4 and Attar added a .368.

Morton led Penn with 34 assists and 14 digs. Caroline Furrer and Quinn had 9 digs a piece. Yale’s Arnautou put up 17 assists, and Kelsey Crawford had 17. Swanson’s 19 digs were first among Bulldogs, Crawford had 11, Malias 10 and Attar 10.

Covington had 2 solo blocks and shared 3 more on the day. Behrbaum had a key solo block and shared another. Molnar, Jones, Morton, and Sulaimon each shared one. For Yale, Wirth had 2 of her own and shared 3, Simqu shared 4, Daniel had one of her own and Attar shared one as well.

Quinn, Jones, and Morton were responsible for Penn’s 3 aces. Attar posted 3 of Yale’s seven Aces, Malias had 2, Rasmussen, and Swanson each had 1.

Yale is now 8-3 overall and 2-0 in the Ivy League. Penn drops to 5-6 and is 0-2 in Ivy play at this point.

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