HOUSTON, Texas – Facing two of the toughest non-conference opponents of the season, the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team was swept in day two action of the Houston Baptist Labor Day Classic on Saturday. The Quakers fell 3-0 (17-25, 23-25, 20-25) to North Florida and 3-0 (18-25, 18-25, 17-25) to Northern Colorado.
North Florida 3, Penn
Hayley Molnar and Courtney Quinn sparked the offense for the Quakers. Quinn hit .231 with seven kills and 10 digs, while Molnar tallied a team-high eight kills with five digs. Emmy Friedler also picked up 10 digs, while Michelle Pereira hammered a match-high four service aces.
Grace James (12 assists) and Sydney Morton (11 assists) orchestrated the offense, combining for 23 helpers. The Quakers hit .112 as a team.
How it Happened
It was a highly competitive beginning to the first set, with the Quakers holding a slight edge. Penn held seven leads in the early going, the final one coming at 11-10. Molnar tallied a pair of kills to give the Quakers 2-1, and 3-2 edges. Quinn followed with a put-away to supply a 9-8 lead. UNF wouldn’t go away, however, eventually tying the score at 11, before going on a 9-5 run to go up 20-16. Following a kill by Kendall Covington to cut the lead to 20-17, the Ospreys ended the set on a 5-0 run.
The Quakers best chance at a breakthrough came in the second set. In what started as a back and forth game, featuring 10 ties, turned into a 19-13 lead for the Quakers following a 6-0 run. An ace by Morton, followed by back-to-back kills from Quinn sparked the stretch, while consecutive errors from North Florida helped stretch the lead. The Ospreys answered back with a 7-1 run of their own to tie the score at 20 apiece. After exchanging points, a service ace and a Penn error provided UNF with a 23-21 lead. Molnar tried to keep the Quakers in it, recording kills to cut it to 23-22 and 24-23, but a kill by Carinne Turner on match point finally closed the door on the Red and Blue.
The Ospreys capitalized on their second-set momentum by jumping out to a 7-3 edge in the third. They would keep a three-to-four lead for much of the game, while Penn attempted to play catch-up. Kills by Covington brought Penn within 16-12 and 18-13, but the Quakers couldn’t come all the way back. UNF’s largest lead came at 19-13, and they would finally seal the set at 25-20.
Northern Colorado 3,
Inside the Numbers
Quinn paced the offense for a second-straight game, notching a team-best nine kills, to go along with a squad-high six digs. Freshman Caroline Furrer followed suit with six kills, while Morton dished out a team-high 13 assists. The Quakers out-blocked the Bears, 4-3.
How it Happened
The Quakers fell behind early in both of the first two sets. Following a kill from Quinn to tie the score at 3-3 in the first set, the Bears went on a 10-4 run to create 13-7 lead. Penn would get as close to two at 18-16 following yet another Quinn kill, but that would be as close as the margin would get. Furrer and Quinn kept the Quakers in it in the opening frame, combining for six kills.
Northern Colorado kept attacking in the second set, jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Furrer halted the stretch, but the bears eventually stretched their edge out to 12-6 and then 18-10. Northern Colorado cruised from there, ending the set at 25-18.
The Quakers came out punching in the third. Taylor Cooper and Lauren McLeod combined for a powerful block to give Penn a 3-0 lead, while McLeod then followed with a kill to lift the Quakers up 5-2. Friedler added a pair of service aces, as Penn led 12-8. The Bears climbed back from there, and finally tied the score at 16-16. They would end the frame on a 9-1 run to seal the match victory.
The Quakers will return home next weekend to host the Valley Forge Sports Penn Invitational at The Palestra. Penn will be joined by Bucknell, George Mason, Lafayette, and Howard.