PHILADELPHIA The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team travels to California’s Orange County this weekend to take part in the Hawthorn Suites Fullerton Classic. The Quakers open up the tournament facing San Diego State Friday at 5:30 p.m. (EDT), followed by a doubleheader Saturday versus host Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. (EDT) and Lipscomb at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).
Despite starting the season 0-3, the Quakers showed some good signs last weekend in Charlotte. Against UNC-Charlotte, three Quakers reached double digits in kills, including freshman Shannon Moody (10). Coming into the season, one area in which Penn knew it would be strong was defense. Through three matches, the Red and Blue are averaging 19.10 digs per game, which puts them at No. 14 in the nation. Junior setter Linda Zhang was named all-tournament last weekend. She dished out 94 assists in three matches.
San Diego State (4-5) comes into Friday’s match on a three-match losing streak. The Aztecs lost at UNLV in their Mountain West Conference opener, 3-2, Wednesday evening. Last weekend, San Diego State made a Pacific Northwest swing, falling to Oregon and Oregon State. The Aztecs possess a strong front line led by Stephanie Darnall, Audra Dent and Melanie Green who all average roughly three kills a game.
The Red and Blue’s toughest competition of the weekend arguably will come against host Cal State Fullerton (8-1). The Titans are riding a three-match win streak after sweeping their competition last weekend in the Comcast Lobo Tournament at New Mexico. Six of CSF’s wins have been 3-0 victories.
Penn matches up with Lipscomb (3-7) in its final match on the left coast. After starting the season 3-0, the Lady Bison have dropped seven in a row. Despite being in the midst of a losing streak, Alex Scruggs has been an all-tournament performer the past two weeks. She leads the team with 2.86 kills per game.