Volleyball splits two Ivy games over Homecoming weekend
The women’s volleyball team split its two games over the weekend, beating Princeton University in a five-setter on Friday before falling to the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday. The Big Green followed up its impressive win over the Tigers with an error-filled game against a Quakers squad playing its best volleyball of the season. After the weekend at home, the Big Green (13-5, 4-3 Ivy) now takes to the road for five straight Ivy League away matches.
The Big Green started quickly in its game against the Tigers (9-8, 4-3 Ivy), taking both of the first two sets 25-19. Dartmouth showed great ability to close out sets, winning the final six points of the opening set on the strength of kills from Paige Caridi ’16 and Alex Schoenberger ’15.
The third and fourth sets were less favorable for the home team. Princeton took both, winning the third by three points and the fourth by seven, sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
Right off the bat, the Big Green found itself in trouble. Princeton’s junior right side hitter Kendall Peterkin, the Ivy League leader in kills with nearly 300, notched four quick kills and the Tigers took a 5-3 lead in the set. Dartmouth battled back from the early deficit and held a precarious 11-9 lead as the set wound down.
At this point, head coach Erin Lindsey substituted Sara Lindquist ’18 into the game and the freshman made an immediate impact. With a block and a kill in the final four Dartmouth points, Lindquist helped carry Dartmouth to a 15-11 set win and a match win.
Though the Big Green could not fully control Princeton’s Peterkin, who tallied 28 kills and 11 digs, good individual efforts from Caridi, Emily Astarita ’17 and Stacey Benton ’17 led to an impressive Dartmouth win.
“Our passing was really good, so we could get in system and our focus was to limit the swings that the other team’s player, number 13, Kendall Peterkin had, because she’s their best player by far,” Caridi said. “And I think we were able to slow her down enough where it wasn’t an easy win for them.”
After beating Princeton, the Big Green took on the Penn Quakers Saturday at Leede Arena. The four-set loss to Penn (6-12, 3-4 Ivy) was a setback for a Big Green squad that had the chance to move into a tie for second place in the Ivy League.
A fairly even first set went the Quakers’ way by a narrow 25-21 margin partly due to 10 errors by the Big Green. Though Dartmouth had more first-set kills than Penn, the team ultimately dropped the set.
The second set was even tighter than the first as the Big Green managed to sharply reduce its number of miscues. Dartmouth had taken a 21-19 lead in the set when a Penn time out seemed to change the momentum in the Quakers’ favor. The Quakers promptly rolled off a 6-1 run to take the set 25-22.
Facing elimination in the third set, Dartmouth fought back and kept hope alive. The Big Green seemed poised to continue its momentum after closing the third set on an 8-2 run.
The fourth set was a major disappointment for Dartmouth as the team lost its most lopsided set since dropping a set to Yale 25-16 on Oct. 4. With the loss, the Big Green dropped to a tie for third in the Ivy League while Penn moved into a tie for fifth.
“Penn is arguably the best blocking team in the League and they blocked really well against us,” Caridi said. “I think if we can get our middles going more earlier, the middles on the other side may have some issues closing to the pin.”
She also pointed to the team’s passing and serving as areas to work on.
Penn beat the Big Green with an extremely balanced attack. Five different Quakers tallied at least seven kills. While Dartmouth had three players notch double-digit kills, the Big Green also made 10 more errors than the Quakers, a sloppiness that ultimately doomed Dartmouth.
Morgan Dressel ’18 pointed to a few key adjustments that could help the Big Green take down the Quakers next time.
“I think we should definitely remember what their tendencies are, but also just sort of play a more read-and-react game,” Dressel said. “I think we’re really good at seeing and reading, especially with the hitter’s arm or a server. Sometimes we get too much tunnel vision of, ‘Oh, we saw this on video, this is exactly what’s going to happen,’ instead of relying on the fact that we’re really good athletes and we know how to react to things, and we’re smart, and we’re quick.”
Dartmouth has now played every team in the Ivy League once and will face each once more before season’s end. With four Ivy wins, the team has a chance to post the first nine-win Ivy record in the last decade.
“The first half of the season, was very, I mean, we’ve been doing really well, it’s just been very physical,” Benton said. “It’s been a battle, all these teams are very good this year. So this is not going to be an easy championship to get.”
The Big Green next takes the court Friday at 7 p.m. in Cambridge, Massachusetts against Harvard University.