The women's volleyball team fell to both Penn and Princeton in this weekend's matchups at the Pizzitola Center, dropping to seventh place in the Ivy League. The first match against Penn ended in four sets, while the Tigers bested the Bears in just three sets on Saturday.
During their fourth home game of the season on Friday, the Bears' (5-12, 1-6 Ivy) many errors led to a steep deficit against a Penn (9-9, 4-3) team with a strong offensive presence.
The Quakers claimed the first two matches of the game 25-21 and 25-15, largely due to the relentless offense of freshman opposite Alex Caldwell, who led her team with 13 kills. Though the Bears' defense has been a highlight of their play this season, they were outdone by the Quakers' power at the net.
The Bears then bounced back and trumped Penn 25-23 in the third set thanks in part to errors on Penn's end and an energized front line.
Opposite Amanda Nickel '14 and outside hitter Brittany Link '15 led their team with ten kills each and ended several well-fought rallies with aggression and consistency. Middle blocker Kathryn Glickman '13 was also key in the cohesive Bears' front line, racking up three of her four kills during the third set.
But Bruno was unable to build on their performance in the fourth set, losing 25-20.
The following day, the Bears dropped three consecutive sets to the Tigers (25-17, 25-20, 25-14). Princeton (9-8, 6-1) dominated the match from the start, registering 17 kills to Bruno's 11 in the first set. Outside hitter Maddie Lord '15 led the Bears with 11 kills over the three sets.
Head Coach Diane Short said the team is hoping to bounce back and "win the rest of (our) home matches and surprise some people."
With a young starting lineup that features two sophomores and two juniors, development seems to be the name of the game. Short said there's been "a big improvement since last year," with "more girls who can put the ball away" on this year's squad, including middle blocker Taylor Bantle '15 and Lord.
But Short said there are still areas in which the team can continue to improve. "Serve and pass need more consistency, and we need to improve on blocking," she said.
The Bears will have the chance to test their development when they travel to Yale for their next game Saturday.