Message from Coach Carr
The longest-tenured and winningest coach in program history, Kerry Carr recently completed her 18th season as the Kenneth L. Gross Head Coach of Volleyball. Under her tutelage the Quakers have collected five Ivy League championships and nine 15-win seasons, highlighted most recently by back-to-back Ivy League titles and NCAA Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Carr also became the program's all-time leader in victories.
Most recently under Carr, the Quakers improved five wins from 2014 (two in the Ivy League) to finish 13-13 this past fall. Led by its five captains, the Quakers finished fifth in the Ivies with a conference mark of 7-7. Senior Alexis Genske was named second-team All-Ivy for the second time in her career. Fellow senior Ronnie Bither leaves Penn with the seventh-most assists (2,529) in the history of the program.
The 2014 squad was a young bunch. Returning only three letterwinners and three starters, Penn added seven freshmen to the roster. To test the young group, Carr scheduled some of the toughest opposition the Red and Blue had ever faced: No. 1 Stanford and No. 20 Duke (at the time). The Quakers finished the season with an overall record of 8-17 and a conference record of 5-9. Two were named All-Ivy, with Alex Caldwell earning second-team and Alexis Genske receiving Honorable Mention. In addition, Penn had three players -- Genske, Emmy Friedler, Kendall Turner -- who ranked in the top five in four different categories in the Ivy League.
2013 was a season full of ups and downs as Penn lost a few key players to injury at the beginning of the season. The Quakers went on a six-game win streak, with the last five wins coming in the second half of Ivy play, and finished 14-11 overall and third in the league with an 8-6 record. Dani Shepherd earned her second Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, AVCA Northeast All-Region Honorable Mention for a second year in a row, and her third first-team All-Ivy honors. Three Quakers earned second-team All-Ivy – Kristen Etterbeek, Alex Caldwell and Alexis Genske – and Susan Stuecheli was named All-Ivy Honorable Mention.
The 2012 Quakers were a defensive-minded bunch led by Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Ivy libero Dani Shepherd. The junior led the nation in digs per set, and as a team Penn bested fellow Ivy Leaguers Yale for the distinction of being the top digs squad in NCAA Division I. Three other members of the team earned Ivy League honors, with Emma White making the second team and Susan Stuecheli and Lauren Martin named honorable mention. The Quakers posted a three-win improvement over 2011 and finished fourth in the Ancient Eight with an 8-6 conference record.
The 2011 Penn team suffered due to the graduation of many of the team's leaders from the back-to-back NCAA Tournament runs, but a young squad gradually found its footing throughout the year and closed out by playing its best volleyball of the season, winning the final three contests of the season. Along the way, sophomore libero Dani Shepherd became the latest Quaker to earn first-team All-Ivy recognition. She was joined by junior middle blocker Amanda Pacheco, who garnered honorable mention All-Ivy status.
In 2010, the Quakers struggled against top tier competition out of the gate, but rebounded once league action started, playing their way to a 12-2 Ivy record and a tie atop the standings with Yale. The Co-Ivy champions had to play for the league's postseason bid and Penn came out on top, 3-2, to improve to 17-10 and earn its second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Ohio in three sets. Following the regular season, Carr had a league-high five players earn first or second-team All-Ivy honors. Seniors Julia Swanson, Megan Tryon and Madison Wojciechowski were first-team selections while sophomores Lauren Martin and Amanda Pacheco made the second team. Carr also experienced personal success, setting the program's mark for career victories Oct. 15, with her 204th win at Penn.
The 2009 season was arguably the most successful in Carr's coaching career. The Quakers opened the year 8-1 on their way to a 22-5 regular-season mark, including a 13-1 Ivy League record. Penn clinched its fourth Ivy League title under Carr, a school record, and received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. In the first round the Quakers beat Army 3-1 for the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, though Penn's tournament run came to an end in the second round to eventual champion Penn State. The Red and Blue also set a League record with four first-team All-Ivy selections and also had multiple school records broken. Lauren Martin, Elizabeth Semmens, Megan Tryon and Madison Wojciechowski were first-team All-Ivy selections, while Semmens and Martin were named the Ivy Player and Rookie of the Year respectively.
The 2008 campaign was a remarkable for Carr, though for reasons off the court. In October, she announced she would be taking a leave of absence for the remainder of the season to battle breast cancer. Thankfully, the cancer was detected early and Carr made a full recovery, returning to the team in December. In her absence the team rallied, finishing the season with victories in eight of its final ten matches to end the season with a 9-5 record in Ivy play and a 13-13 mark overall.
The 2007 team may have snuck up on many in the Ivy League when Penn made a play for the title and finished in a tie for second, winning an impressive 17 matches overall and finishing 10-4 in the conference. However, anyone who saw Carr's 2006 squad featuring one of the league's best setters, Linda Zhang, and two powerful hitters -- Anna Shlimak and Laura Black -- shouldn't have been surprised.
Carr also received stellar play from two newcomers, as Wojciechowski rotated into the libero position and into the record books, setting the then single-season record for digs (457), while outside hitter Julia Swanson became Penn's first Ivy Rookie of the Year since 1992. Additionally, Carr won her 200th career match on Oct. 27, 2007 when the Quakers swept Cornell in Ithaca, 3-0.
The 2005 campaign saw the Quakers claim a 3-2 win over eventual Ivy League champion Cornell, marking Carr's 60th Ivy League win as Penn finished the season 7-7 in league play for the second consecutive season.
Following the loss of four seniors Carr saw her chances of a "four-peat" go by the wayside in 2004. Her squad finished with the League's fifth-best record at 7-7 while she claimed her 100th win with the Red and Blue on Oct. 18, 2004 at Dartmouth, a 3-0 sweep.
The 2003 squad earned a "three-peat" as Ivy champs with a second-straight 13-1 league record. The team also posted the program's eighth 20-win season by finishing the regular season at 20-6. Four of Carr's players received League honors, including Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan's unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year award. The senior was also named was also named honorable mention All-America.
The 2002 Quakers won their second-straight Ivy title before falling to Penn State, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Penn finished the season at 22-5, which included a 12-match win streak heading into the postseason. The Red and Blue received its highest regional ranking (seventh) in 2002 and headed into the 2003 season having won 21 of its last 22 regular season matches.
The 2001 team set its sights on the top of the Ancient Eight ladder at the very beginning of the year and never looked back. With a new championship format and excellent leadership from an experienced trio of seniors, the Quakers were the hunted from the get-go after a convincing 3-1 win over 2000 Ivy champion Princeton. They then survived a scare in the final week of Ivy play to pull off Carr's first Ivy League Championship and Penn's first trip to the NCAA Volleyball Championship.
On Oct. 19, 2001, Carr recorded her 100th career victory as the Quakers defeated Yale, 3-1, in The Palestra. She was also named 2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division I Northeast Region Coach of the Year for her efforts on the season.
In Carr's first season with the Red and Blue, she led her 1998 squad to an 11-16 overall mark and two wins in the Ivy League Championship Tournament. In 1999, Carr added four more wins to the team's record and led the Quakers to only their second-ever win over a team from the state of California in a 3-2 nail-biter against Cal-State Fullerton at the Golden Gate Classic in San Francisco.
Prior to her appointment as head coach at Penn, Carr spent three years at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. She began her tenure at Alaska as an assistant coach in 1995 before becoming the head coach in 1996.
Before becoming a part of the Anchorage staff, Carr served as an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii in 1993 and 1994. While there she helped Hawaii record a 44-16 mark and two NCAA Tournament berths, including a trip to the Elite Eight. Carr also served as an assistant coach at Georgetown.
Carr earned a bachelor's degree in economics from William & Mary in 1990. She then completed her master's degree in education administration of higher education at Hawaii in 1994. A four-year letterwinner and middle blocker for W&M, Carr helped the Tribe to a 97-28 record and four Colonial Athletic Association championships from 1987-90. During her senior season, the squad reached the semifinal round of the NIVA with a 28-4 overall mark. In addition, Carr coached the men's club team at the school during her four years as an undergraduate.
Currently, Carr runs the Penn Volleyball Camp at The Palestra. She has also started a local VolleyTOTS and VolleyKIDS clinic in the Philadelphia community aimed at introducing kids, ages 3-10, to the sport of volleyball.
Carr recently completed a four-year tenure on the NCAA Volleyball Rules Committee, serving as chair during the 2006-07 term. She received the Meritorious Service Award in 1999 from USA Volleyball for contributing outstanding participation, motivation and other services in the promotion of volleyball.
Carr and her husband David have two children, Benjamin Major Carr (9) and Sarah Anne Carr (7).