The win against Norfolk State is the third consecutive five-set victory for the Red and Blue this season. Penn improved to 4-4 on the year, with all four wins resulting from five-set matches.
The dance started right from the beginning, as the Quakers battled the Spartans back-and-forth for points in the first two sets. After the Spartans went up 2-0, they thought the win was locked in place.
NSU had underestimated the Red and Blue.
Penn took the court for set three with high intensity and endurance. Even though the Quakers started set down 3-0, they bounced right back when set up by a service error from Spartan Jessica Johnson. Senior Kristen Etterbeek continued what would be a nine-point streak with a kill, followed by four service aces in a row from junior Meghan Connolly. The deficit was too much for NSU to recover from and the Quakers won their first set of the evening, 25-16.
Sophomore Jasmine DeSilva started set four with a kill to continue Penn's momentum from the third set. Connolly once again went behind the line for the serve, with the score 4-2 in favor of Penn. The Quakers bumped the lead up to 6-2, and then allowed the Spartans to only come within two points twice -- 6-4, 8-6 -- while stretching their lead to nine points twice and finally winning 25-18.
It was déjà vu as Penn set themselves up to play to 15, reaching eight first -- 8-6. This was the third time (out of four) that the Quakers reached eight first in the fifth set. The Spartans could not keep up with the Red and Blue, losing 15-10 after a game-winning kill by Etterbeek.
When analyzing the numbers of past games, it was easy to see the area the Quakers needed to improve upon; however, the same could not be said about tonight’s match. Penn has been guilty of committing a decent number of errors, but tonight the numbers did not lie.
As a team in set one, the Quakers put up a total of 11 kills, seven errors, and 33 total attacks equating to a .121 percentage; in set two, a total of 15 kills, five errors, 42 total attacks, .238 percentage; set three, a total of 10 kills, two errors, 23 total attacks, .348 percentage; set four, 13 kills, 3 errors, 26 total attacks, .385 percentage; set five, 9 kills, zero errors, 13 total attacks, .692 percentage.
The Quakers also produced ten team blocks and continue to shine with multiple players accumulating double-digit figures.
Etterbeek led the team in kills with 15, followed by fellow senior captain Susan Stucheli with 12 and DeSilva with 11. Defensively, sophomore Alexis Genske finished with 19 digs.
The Quakers resume tournament play at Villanova on Saturday with a 1 p.m. match against Sacred Heart and a 7 p.m. matchup with the host Wildcats.