Penn Claims Second Place in American Volleyball Tournament

Navy Box Score

American Box Score

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Penn volleyball team fell just short of capturing the American Volleyball Tournament title Saturday as it fell, 3-2 (31-29, 25-30, 30-27, 23-30, 15-6), to host American in the championship match. The Quakers (3-4) were the first team to hand American (8-6) a game loss all weekend. Sophomore Natalie Drucker and freshman Julia Swanson were named to the All-Tournament team. Swanson led the Red and Blue with 20 kills against American, while Drucker contributed 14 kills, one solo block, and nineblock assists.

Penn and American battled back and forth in the first game, with neither team able to establish a strong advantage. The Quakers fought back from a late 27-25 deficit to tie the score at 29 before American won the final two points to take the game. Swanson led Penn with five kills in the game, and senior Linda Zhang set up 13 successful attacks, but the Quakers dropped their first game of the tournament.

The second game appeared to be going the same way until the Quakers were able to create some space for themselves late to pull away with a 30-25 victory. After American pulled out to an early 3-1 lead, the Quakers fought back to tie. It was a quick kill from Zhang that helped swing momentum in Penn’s favor, however, and the Eagles were unable to build a large lead. Swanson added five more kills while Kathryn Turner pounded home four in the game. Drucker recorded a solo block that sealed the victory for Penn. It was the Eagles’ first loss of the tournament.

After the break, the Quakers jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before the Eagles were forced to call timeout. American crept back into it, tying the score at 13. From there, it was another tightly-contested game before American was able to take a 30-27 contest. Drucker had four kills and two more block assists in the game.

Penn went back to the block party in Game Four, capitalizing on several rejections late to capture a 30-23 victory. The Quakers came up with five blocks in the game. Drucker recorded seven kills, and Anna Shlimak and Swanson had four each as the Red and Blue forced a fifth game.

The Quakers came up short in the end, though, falling to the Eagles 15-6 in the fifth and deciding game.

Earlier in the day, the Quakers earned its third straight three-game victory Saturday as it defeated the Navy Midshipmen, 3-0 (30-23, 30-18, 30-22) to advance to the finals of the American Volleyball Tournament. Senior Laura Black led all scorers with 17 kills, recording a .433 hitting percentage. Freshman Julia Swanson contributed 11 kills, while sophomore Natalie Drucker continued her strong tournament with seven kills and a .417 percentage.

Penn came out in the first game and defeated the Midshipmen despite not registering a block, just a day after rejecting 11 Army shots en route to a 3-0 victory. Swanson led the team with six kills for the game, good for a .500 hitting percentage. Black also contributed five kills, while freshman Megan Tryon contributed 12 assists.

In Game Two, the Quakers used an 8-0 run to jump out to an 11-4 lead. With senior Anna Shlimak serving, Black pounded home two of her seven kills in the game, and Navy could never recover. Tryon set up 13 more successful attacks while the Red and Blue registered its first blocks of the match, including two solo stoppers from Black, two block assists from Shlimak, and one each from Drucker and junior Kathryn Turner..

The third game started slowly for Penn as they fell behind 5-2 before an 8-0 run put them in the lead. Sophomore Shannon Moody had two service aces during the run. The Midshipmen crept as close as 26-21 but could come no closer as the Quakers ensured a berth in the championship game.

Penn returns to action next weekend when they host the Sheraton-Penn Invitational next Saturday and Sunday. They will face Temple at 7:00 p.m. Saturday before taking on Quinnipiac and Albany on Sunday.