Volleyball Wins Home Opener, Splits Day 1 of the Valley Forge Sports Penn Invitational

Bucknell Box Score | Howard Box Score

PHILADELPHIA – Playing inside the friendly confines of The Palestra for the first time this season, the Penn volleyball team split a pair of matches on Saturday at the Valley Forge Sports Invitational. The Quakers earned a 3-1 win (25-20, 25-14, 15-25, 25-22) over Bucknell in their home opener before falling 3-0 (20-25, 22-25, 19-25) to Howard in the nightcap.

Penn 3, Bucknell 1
Inside the Numbers
The Quakers enjoyed a breakout performance in their first Bison matchup of the day. Penn racked up season highs in kills (52), assists (46), hitting percentage (.222), and blocks (7.0). In addition, the Red and Blue received several outstanding individual efforts.

Sophomore Courtney Quinn and freshman Caroline Furrer became the first two Quakers to record double-doubles this season. Quinn’s came in the form of 11 kills and 12 digs, while Furrer piled up a team-high 14 kills and 10 digs. Sydney Morton was a vital piece to the duo’s success, as she dished out a career-high 31 assists. Michelle Pereira (15) and Emmy Friedler (12) also totaled double-digit digs for the Quakers.

How it Happened
Furrer led the way in the opening set, tallying eight kills and a .400 hitting percentage. The rookie compiled back-to-back put-aways to put Penn up 9-6, while a kill from Quinn put the Quakers ahead 15-10. Another consecutive kills from Furrer gave the Red and Blue their biggest lead of the game at 21-15. Penn closed the set with an ace from Pereira and a final put-away from Furrer.

Penn continued its sharp offense in the second set, dominating the action on both sides of the ball. The Quakers hit .348 on the way to a 25-14 triumph. Five different players recorded kills for the Red and Blue, including three from Quinn. Morton recorded eight assists.

The fourth set saw the tightest action, as Penn jumped out to a lead early and held on late. Taylor Cooper put Penn up 8-5, while a kill from Hayley Molnar provided a 19-11 edge. Howard climbed back from there, eventually cutting the lead to just 23-21. Back-to-back kills from Molnar sealed the deal for the Quakers.

Howard 3, Penn 0
Inside the Numbers
It was more of a balanced attack for Penn in the second match of the day. Kendall Covington and Furrer each had eight kills, while Quinn and Molnar both finished with seven. Freshman Zoe Macartney proved to be the most efficient Quaker, hitting a team-best .556 with five kills. Morton added another 27 helpers.

How it Happened
The Bison jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the opening set, followed by an 18-11 edge. Penn climbed back to within three at 23-20, but a kill by Courtney Dalton, followed by a Penn error, sealed the set for Howard.

Undeterred by the opening set loss, the Red and Blue jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second. Molnar registered back-to-back kills to begin the frame, while Covington capped off the stretch. Penn elongated that lead to 18-10, but were unable to close the door. A kill from Khaila Donaldson, and a pair of Penn errors led to a 19-19 tie. Covington gave the Quakers a brief one-point lead, but another pair of kills from Donaldson and a service ace put the Bison up 22-20. The Red and Blue would cut the lead to one on two more occasions, but ultimately fell 25-22.

The third set provided some more back and forth action, as Penn and Howard tallied 10 ties and five lead changes, capped off at 13-13. The Bison slinked away from there, rattling off five straight points to take an 18-13 edge. The Quakers were unable to get closer than four points the rest of the way, with the Bison finishing off the match at 25-19.

Up Next
The Quakers are back in action tomorrow with two more matches inside The Palestra. Penn will take on George Mason at 2:30 p.m. and Lafayette at 8 p.m.