The Big Green fell to Princeton University but prevailed over the University of Pennsylvania.
Courtesy of Emma Engstrom
Courtesy of Emma Engstrom
Big Green Volleyball played their second and third Ivy League games at Leede Arena this weekend. While the team came up short against Princeton University on Friday, 3-0, the team reclaimed the spot on Saturday, beating the University of Pennsylvania 3-1.
At the start of the big weekend, Dartmouth had just picked up a win over Harvard University in their first Ivy League game of the season.
Against the Tigers, the first set ended 21-25, the second ended 17-25, and the Tigers won the third set 24-26. Towards the end of the third set, the Big Green tied Princeton 24-24, but Dartmouth failed to take home a win. According to head coach Gilad Doron, the team has been focused on their blocks this season – which was clear in this game, as the big green totaled four blocks and Princeton came out with two.
“Princeton have some very physical players that we need to contain,” said Doron. “[In order to succeed against Princeton, the team needs to] defend and block very well.”
Princeton took an early lead for most of the game as Dartmouth tried to keep up. Both Taite Ryan ’23 and Ava Roberts ’26 grabbed kills in the first and second sets, respectively, to keep the momentum going. Dartmouth picked up steam in the third set and took the lead 21-19 with a kill from Ellie Blain ’24. The Big Green couldn’t hold it, however, as Princeton took the four remaining points to end the game.
In the game against Princeton, Karen Murphy ’24 and Makenzie Arent ’23 helped Dartmouth stay in the game as they combined for 29 assists. Murphy led the team with 16 assists and Arent was close behind with 13. Last year, Arent finished the season as the team leader with 485 assists.
Emma Engstrom ’25 led the team with 14 digs and averaged a solid 4.77 digs per set.
Engstrom said the team was “challenged in a new way” in their game against Princeton, which helped them learn what needs to be worked on.
After losing to Princeton on Friday, Big Green quickly shifted focus to another Ivy League opponent: Penn. Big Green won on Sunday 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 20-25. However, Big Green rallied to take home the win over Penn as the team clinched the fourth set 25-16.
Reflecting on last year’s game against the Quakers, Engstrom pointed to the similar drive volleyball scored from Friday’s loss to the start of Sunday’s Penn game.
“Regarding playing Penn [last year], we lost our first game against them in the fifth set 15-13 and beat them the second time we played them,” Engstrom said. “I think we had momentum and energy in that game.”
In the first set, Dartmouth started strong with a 10-point streak in which Blain served. With the Big Green holding a 17-6 advantage over Penn, Ali Silva ’23 finished the second set with an ace. While Dartmouth forged a 20-16 lead early in the third set, they couldn’t hold on and Penn won the Set of 25-20. At the beginning of the fourth set, Big Green and Quakers went head to head and tied 14-14. Soon after, Dartmouth took a five-point lead thanks to blocks and kills from Grace Wiczek ’23.
During that game against Penn, Dartmouth had a total of eight blocks – something Doron stressed was vital to this weekend’s Ivy League game. The Big Green took the lead over Penn in points, kills, aces, blocks, assists and digs. Arent led the team with 21 total assists in the Penn game.
“This week in practice we really focused on playing dartmouth volleyball instead of trying to beat the other team,” Arent said. “We take advantage of the fact that there’s only 18 people – it makes our team a cohesive group of friends where we all support and know each other.”
Dartmouth now stands with a 9-3 overall record and a 2-1 Ivy League record. In its next game, Volleyball meets Brown University on Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m. at Leede Arena – also with a 2-1 record in the Ivy League