Volleyball suffers heartbreaking loss
The volleyball team had a tough weekend of home matches against the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. The Quakers (14-9, 8-4 Ivy) and Tigers (9-13, 5-7 Ivy) beat the Big Green (10-14, 3-9 Ivy) in 3-1 matches.
Dartmouth started out strong Friday night against the Quakers, defeating the team in the first set 25-19. The Quakers, however, fought back and took the following consecutive three sets to win the match, 25-20, 25-14 and 25-13. In the first set, Penn had 10 out of the first 17 points in the match. The Big Green did manage a comeback, taking the next 10 points thanks to two aces from co-captain Elisa Scudder ’14 and two kills from Paige Caridi ’16. Superstar freshman Emily Astarita ’17 finished the successful set with an ace.
The Quakers then came back with a 9-3 run, giving them an advantageous lead in the second set so they could take it all. Dartmouth began to fall behind in the third set, as the Quakers took nine points out of the first 12 in the set after a 10-minute intermission. The Quakers swept the third set 25-14.
The Quakers' long, successful runs have brought them success in the season. The rapid accumulation of points certainly worked in their favor this season, and lead to sweeping success.
On Friday, Caridi racked up 10 kills, which Scudder followed with eight, Kaira Lujan '16 with six and Astarita with five. Stacey Benton ’17 had a match-high of 29 assists.
Saturday’s match against Princeton was equally heartbreaking, as the Big Green lost to the Tigers in a five-set match. Dartmouth played with heart, coming back from a 2-1 set deficit to force a fifth set. Despite the loss, the Big Green played an impressive game, and the match was a fantastic way to honor seniors Scudder and Berkeley Hall ’14.
In the fifth set, the two teams were evenly matched, tying the score at 10-10. Dartmouth then scored back-to-back points, only to be followed up by a string of three points by the Tigers, resulting in a 15-12 win in the final set.
“It’s so hard to say why the game didn’t go our way,” Scudder said. “The fifth game of a match is so short that every point really matters, so if you go on a small run, that really can determine who wins the game.”
Despite the crushing loss on Saturday, Dartmouth swept the statistics. The Big Green triumphed over the Tigers with 77 kills and 75 assists to Princeton’s 66 and 62. The Big Green also had eight aces, which contributed to its stellar offense.
“Our outside hitters had a very successful night and were able to put a lot of balls away,” Lujan said. “We lost because we gave up points in runs of unforced errors.”
Lujan’s teammates echoed her assessment.
“We were hitting efficiently last night,” Scudder said. “Our outside hitters had a great game and had a lot of kills. We also definitely had control in the game. We weren’t waiting for Princeton to make mistakes, we were taking opportunities that we had.”
Many Big Green players had impressive games on Saturday. Scudder had 16 kills during the match, with an attack percentage of .387. The freshmen also enjoyed remarkable games. Astarita had 24 kills and a .500 attack percentage, while Benton had a total of 70 assists. Benton’s assists on Saturday place her behind Felicity Kolp ’99, who holds the record for most assists in a single match.
“In the Princeton match, we stayed in system pretty well and we were earning a lot of points on our kills,” Astarita said. “Our defense was also scrappy and we got a lot of balls up. The match was very close, it came down to a fifth set. There were a few controversial calls made by the referee at the end of the match and we lost our momentum.”
Caridi had arguably the best match of her collegiate career, with 25 kills, 14 digs and three aces, along with four blocks.
Both Scudder and Hall had phenomenal seasons and were strong leaders on the team.
“The seniors are great,” Lujan said. “Elisa Scudder has done a lot for the team on the court, with a strong presence with her hitting and blocking. Berkley joined the team this past spring and has brought the most enthusiasm and encouragement to the team and has been a great addition.”
The Big Green will be back in action against Cornell University on Nov. 15 and Columbia University on Nov. 16.
“We’re going to work hard in practice this week and hopefully close the season out strong,” Astarita said.