Split Earns Volleyball the Penn Invitational Crown

Penn-UMBC Box Score (pdf)

Penn-W&M Box Score (pdf)

PHILADELPHIA -
Faced with a tough schedule that had them playing two matches within an hour of each other, the Penn Quakers earned a split, which was enough for them to take home the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational title. Lauren Martin was named Tournament MVP and Susan Steucheli garneredAll-Tournament Team statusas well.

The day began on a positive note for Penn as a 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-10 decision over UMBC sealed the tournament championship. Three players reached double-digits in kills during the match, led by Martin with 18. Amanda Pacheco was second on the team with 15 and Kristen Etterbeek added 10. Dani Shepherd had a game-high 32 digs to helm a strong defensive effort that saw the Quakers outhit the Retrievers .225 to .098.

For the second match in a row, Penn never trailed in the first set. Pachecotallied the first three Quaker points and was followed by consecutive kills from Stuecheli and an attack error from UMBC to establish a quick 6-1 cushion. With a team hitting percentage of .368 in the set, the Red and Blue never saw its lead diminish to less than three points all the way through.

The second set was a defensive slugfest with each team racking up over 30 digs apiece. Shepherd personally had 13 to keep the UMBC offense at bay, but Penn couldn't overcome nine attack errors and two errors on serve, allowing UMBC to knot the match at 1-1.

The match swung in Penn's favor in the third set. In a set with nine ties, a quick three-point burst turned a 13-13 stalemate into a 16-13 Penn advantage. After UMBC pulled within a point at 17-16, the Quakers reeled off five of the next six points with kills by four different players to take the fight out of the Retrievers.

With a tournament championship in its sights, Penn stormed over UMBC in the fourth. Martin threw down kills in five of her seven attempts while the trio of Emma White, Etterbeek and Pacheco added three each. Displaying their aggressive defensive style yet again, the Quakers held the Retrievers to ahitting percentage of-.026 in the set.

Coach Kerry Carr got to see both the good and the bad from her team over the course of the day. "I feel we played our best match of the season versus UMBC," she said."We laid everything out to win that match. We played fast, we passed extremely well and we served tough."

With just an hour between the end of the first match and the beginning of the tournament finale with William & Mary, Penn came out sluggishly and fell 3-1 to the Tribe (22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25).

"The quick turnaround was pretty brutal for our team. We were gassed after the first match and William & Mary made it a point to play quickly. We could have hung with them if that pace forced them into mistakes, but they made very few."

Making some line-up changes out of the locker room trailing two sets to none, Penn grabbed the third set with a gritty performance keyed by Etterbeek's five kills. Back into the match at 2-1, Penn looked to square things at two sets apiece when they went up 8-3 in the fourth. Unfortunately, the team ran out of gas down the stretch. Tied 20-20, the Tribe ran off three points to give themselves a working margin and the Quakers couldn't convert after a service error brought them to within 24-22.

Penn opens Ivy League play on Friday with a quick trip up to Princeton for a 7 p.m. get-together. Returning home, the Quakers host their final non-conference game against the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday at 4 p.m.

2011 Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational All-Tournament Team
Lauren Martin, Penn (MVP)
Susan Stuecheli, Penn
Hallie Carter, UMBC
Ali Goc, UMBC
Julia Swalchick, William & Mary
Kayla Wilson, Rhode Island

Download: Penn-UMBC Box.pdf