PHILADELPHIA – It was sweet revenge for the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team as they knocked off Columbia with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-20) win in The Palestra, after falling to the Lions earlier this season in a five-set heartbreaker. Taking out the Lions in three was even sweeter as the win was Penn’s first weekend sweep. The victory tonight improved the Quakers’ home record to 7-2, and they now stand in third place in the Ivy League with a 12-9 overall, and 6-4 Ivy record.
After a block by junior Kendall Turner and sophomore Alexis Genske to claim the first point in set-one, a kill from sophomore Alex Caldwell was the point that set the pace for the 25-16 victory. Caldwell’s kill sparked a five-point run by the Red and Blue, with senior captain Kristen Etterbeek contributing two of her seven set-one kills. The four point deficit the Lions faced at 9-5 was soon increased to a deficit of 14-7, which was too great for Columbia to come back from as Turner finished the set with a kill.
Set-two was much different, as an intense back-and-forth battle ensued -- eight lead changes and a tied score 13 times. It wasn’t until Caldwell tied the score late in the set at 21. Caldwell’s kill was followed by a kill from Genske. In an effort to turn the momentum, the Lions called a timeout but couldn’t shake the Quakers as Caldwell put down another kill to give Penn the advantage, 23-21. The next point went to Columbia after a Red and Blue service error, but Genske responded with a kill and an ace to take the second set victory, 25-22.
Etterbeek put down a kill for the first point in set three, which established the tone for the rest of play. Penn held a steady three-point lead until a block by Etterbeek gave the edge the Quakers needed to extend the lead. Etterbeek followed her block with a kill as Genske followed suit, to put the Red and Blue up, 17-11. Penn soon extended their lead to nine, but the Lions began to claw their way up the scoreboard, narrowing the gap to 3 at 23-20. The comeback was short-lived as Genske’s attack was good for a kill, giving the ball back to the Quakers. The Red and Blue finished the set with a block by Turner and Caldwell to win, 25-20.
The Red and Blue hit a .303 attack percentage with Etterbeek leading the way with 16 kills. Also hitting double-digits in kills with 12 was Genske. As well as double-digit kills, Genske also hit double-digits in digs (11), behind senior captain Dani Shepherd (23). The offense was paced by Caldwell and sophomore Ronnie Bither with 26 and 23 assists respectively.
For the second night in a row, the Red and Blue outperformed their opponent in kills (55-31), assists (54-31), digs (61-39), and points (63-42).
Penn will be back in action this weekend for their last road trips to Dartmouth and Harvard.