PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team will play host this weekend of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational. The Quakers will host city schools Temple and La Salle as well as American and Weber State. First serve will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m., and the action will continue all day on Sunday.
Penn will battle American in Saturday's final match, at approximately 8 p.m.; on Sunday, the Quakers will take on fellow Big 5 rival Temple (2 p.m.) and end the two-day event with Weber State at 6 p.m.
Live Stats/Live Video
*Live stats of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational matches will be available by clicking here.
*Penn Sports Network will also be on hand to provide streaming HD video of the three Penn matches in the tournament.
When Penn played in their home opener this past Tuesday evening, it was nothing short of a thriller. Down two sets, the Quakers defeated Delaware in a five-set battle. This was the second year in a row the Red and Blue erased a 2-0 lead to beat the Blue Hens. Four Quakers finished the evening with double digits in kills: senior Kristen Etterbeek (11), sophomore Alex Caldwell (10), sophomore Michellie McDonald-O’Brien (10), and sophomore Jasmine DeSilva (10). Four Quakers also finished the evening with double-digit totals in digs: Etterbeek (11), Caldwell (11), sophomore Ronnie Bither (14), and senior Dani Shepherd (29).
The Eagles have started their 2013 campaign with a 7-0 record, their best since 1992. Of the seven wins, American has swept six of those opponents, the other win coming against Manhattan in four. Junior Kelly McCaddin leads the Eagles' attack with 65 kills (3.10 k/set), and right behind her is junior Kristyna Lindovska with 64 kills (3.56 k/set). Another player on the leader board is Megan Rosburg, who has 14 service aces and is also leads in digs with 85 (3.86 dig/set).
Scouting La Salle
The Explorers will open the tournament on Saturday against Weber State at 4 p.m. Since a first-match win back on August 31 against Fairleigh Dickenson, the Explorers have struggled in the 2013 season with a 1-8 record, and are hoping to regain some ground in the tournament. Sophomore Kelly Perillo tops the board with 102 kills (3.29 k/set), while classmate Erin Noga leads with 126 digs (4.06 dig/se)t. La Salle will not face Penn in the invitational but will host them in a contest on Monday September, 30th.
With Bakeer Ganes now in his third season as head coach, the Owls have turned their program around. A member of the new American Athletic Conference, the Owls are 5-1 on the season, with the five wins coming since an opening-match loss to Buffalo. Like Penn, the Owls’ last match was a come-from-behind win, 3-2 against NJIT. Temple is led by seniors Gabriella Matautia -- averaging 3.92 kills/set -- and Emily Carlin (3.74 kills/set). Defensively, sophomore Alyssa Drachslin averages 3.52 digs/set. The Big 5 rival will compete with Penn on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Scouting Weber State
The Wildcats (3-6) have hit a dry spell, losing their last six competitions after winning the first three of the season. As the team that is traveling the furthest, Weber State is hoping the tournament ends on a positive note and snaps the losing streak. Sophomore Rebecca Fuchs and junior Ashley Briggs are currently tied for the team lead in kills with 93 apiece (2.74 kills/set). Freshman Megan Bean is second in the Big Sky Conference with 40 blocks -- 1.25 blocks/set -- and junior Mckay Tarbox is third in the Big Sky with 154 digs (4.53 digs/set). Weber State will open the tournament on Saturday against La Salle at 4 p.m., and later close out the tournament on Sunday at 6 p.m. with Penn.
After the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Invitational, Penn will not play at home in the Palestra until October 18 against Harvard. The Quakers will kick off their month-long road trip with Big 5 rival Villanova in the Villanova University Tournament next Friday and Saturday. The Red and Blue will face off with Norfolk State on Friday, and see Sacred Heart and the host Wildcats on Saturday.