Volleyball splits games in Ivy League double header
The Big Green fell to Princeton University but came out on top against University of Pennsylvania.
Courtesy of Emma Engstrom
Big Green volleyball played its second and third Ivy League games in Leede Arena this weekend. While the team fell short against Princeton University 0-3 on Friday, on Saturday, the team proceeded to take back the court and won against the University of Pennsylvania, 3-1.
Going into the big weekend, Dartmouth had just come off of a win against Harvard University in its first Ivy League game of the season.
Facing off against the Tigers, the first set ended with a score of 21-25, the second finished 17-25 and Tigers took the third set 24-26. Towards the end of the third set, the Big Green tied up Princeton 24-24, but Dartmouth was unable to take home a win. The team has been focused on its blocks this season, according to head coach Gilad Doron — which was clear in this game as the Big Green totaled four blocks and Princeton came out with two.
“Princeton has some very physical players that we need to contain,” Doron said. “[In order to succeed against Princeton, the team needs to] defend and block very well.”
Princeton took early leads for most of the game as Dartmouth tried to keep up. Both Taite Ryan ’23 and Ava Roberts ’26 made kills in the first and second set, respectively, to keep up the momentum. In the third set, Dartmouth began to pick up steam and was able to capture the lead at 21-19 with a kill from Ellie Blain ’24. The Big Green was not able to keep it, however, as Princeton took the four remaining points to end the game.
In the match against Princeton, Karen Murphy ’24 and Makenzie Arent ’23 helped Dartmouth stay in the game as they totaled 29 assists between them. Murphy led the team in assists with 16 and Arent was close behind with 13. Last year, Arent ended the season with a team-leading 485 assists.
Emma Engstrom ’25 led the team with 14 digs and averaged a solid 4.77 digs per set.
Engstrom said that the team was “challenged in a new way” in their game against Princeton, which helped them learn what needs to be worked on.
After the loss against Princeton on Friday, the Big Green quickly shifted focus to another Ivy League opponent: Penn. On Sunday, the Big Green came out victorious with a final score of 3-1. Dartmouth won the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-12, but Penn came back and won the third set with a score of 20-25. However, the Big Green rallied to take home the win against Penn as the team secured the fourth set 25-16.
Engstrom reflected on last year’s game against the Quakers in reference to the similar drive volleyball obtained going from Friday’s loss to the start of the Penn game on Sunday.
“In terms of playing Penn [last year], we lost to them 15-13 in the fifth set in our first game against them and ended up sweeping them the second time we played them,” Engstrom said. “I think we had momentum and energy going into that game.”
In the first set, Dartmouth started strong with a 10 point streak with Blain serving. As the Big Green held a 17-6 advantage over Penn, Ali Silva ’23 ended the second set with an ace. While Dartmouth clinched a 20-16 lead at the beginning of the third set, they could not hold on, and Penn took the set 25-20. As the fourth set began, the Big Green and Quakers went neck and neck and were tied at 14-14. Soon after, Dartmouth took a five-point lead, thanks to blocks and kills by Grace Wiczek ’23.
During this game against Penn, Dartmouth had a total of eight blocks— something that Doron emphasized was vital for Ivy League play this weekend. The Big Green took the lead over Penn in terms of points, kills, aces, blocks, assists and digs. Arent led the team with a total of 21 assists in the Penn game.
“This week, at practice, we have been really focused on playing Dartmouth volleyball as opposed to trying to beat the other team,” Arent said. “We take advantage of the fact that there are only 18 people — it makes our team a cohesive friend group where we all support each other and know one another.”
Dartmouth now stands a 9-3 overall record with a 2-1 Ivy League record. In its next match, volleyball will face Brown University — also with 2-1 Ivy League record — on Friday, Oct. 7 in Leede Arena at 7 p.m.