PHILADELPHIA The Penn volleyball team opens its 2007 home schedule with the Sheraton-Penn Invitational Saturday and Sunday at the Palestra. The Quakers will face Temple Saturday at 7:00 p.m. before taking on Albany and Quinnipiac on Sunday.
Penn is coming off a successful weekend at the American Volleyball Tournament, where it swept its first three matches before falling to host American in five close games in the championship match. The Quakers defeated Lafayette, Army, and Navy to earn their first three victories of the young season.
Sophomore Natalie Drucker, an All-Tournament selection, was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week for her performance in Washington. Drucker compiled a .506 hitting percentage over the weekend, making just five errors. She had 10 kills and no errors in the Quakers’ sweep of Army, who came into the match with a record of 11-1.
“To play so well with so few errors shows just how solid Natalie has been for us in her sophomore season,” said head coach Kerry Carr.
In addition to pouring in the kills, Drucker also keyed a strong net defense for Penn, tallying 16 block assists and two solo blocks, including nine block assists and a solo block in the championship match. On the year, Drucker leads the League in blocks (1.31 bpg) and is second in hitting percentage (.370).
Freshman Julia Swanson, who was also named to the All-Tournament team, earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. She registered 53 kills on the weekend, including a 20-kill, 12-dig match against American. Swanson was the only Quaker to knock home double-figure kills in each of the team’s four matches. Swanson hit .304 and also contributed to a dominating net defense for Penn, tallying five block assists and two solo blocks.
The Quakers will be facing top competition over the weekend. Carr will be looking for her first defeat of the Owls in her ten seasons at the helm at Penn. Albany and Quinnipiac also bring talented teams into the Palestra.
“We are going to be facing some challenging teams,” Carr said. “We played very well last weekend, but we have to play a little bit better if we want to win here. It’s critical for us to continue to raise our level of play.”