PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team made it a successful home debut on Friday night by capturing a 3-1 victory over Fairfield at The Palestra. The Quakers have now won three matches in a row and improve to 3-2 on the season.
The senior duo of Alexis Genske and Alex Caldwell, along with sophomore Kendall Covington led the charge offensively for the Quakers. Caldwell was the most efficient of the trio, hitting .429 with 12 kills. Genske compiled her third double-double of the season, producing 15 kills and 11 digs. Covington chipped in with 10 kills. Senior Ronnie Bither controlled the tempo for Penn, tallying 40 of the Quakers' 52 assists.
Fairfield was led by the trio of Megan Theiller, Megan O’Sullivan and Skyler Day—all of which posted double-digit kills in the loss. As a team, the Stags recorded 54 kills and hit .163.
Set No. 1
Fueled by the first home crowd of the season, the Quakers jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first set. Caldwell hammered a kill to make it 6-2, while senior Jasmine DeSilva registered one of her own to produce the five-point edge. Fairfield would hang around though and the Stags and Quakers went down to the wire in the opener. The first frame produced eight ties, the last coming at 24 apiece. Freshman Courtney Quinn broke the tie with her first kill of the match and an attack error by O’Sullivan gave Penn the first set, 26-24.
Set No. 2
Dramatic moments were once again on tap in the second set. Tied at 14, back-to-back kills from Quinn and senior Michellie McDonald-O’Brien lifted Penn to a two-point lead. Later in the set, Bither notched her only kill of the night to put the Quakers ahead 20-17. Following a timeout, Fairfield climbed back and took a 23-22 lead on a Day kill. Quakers closed strong though, as Genske, Caldwell and Covington recorded three kills in a row to lift Penn to a second-set win.
Set No. 3
Following two hard-fought losses in the first two sets, Fairfield bounced back in a big way in the third set. The Stags hit a match-high .250 on the way to a 25-15 triumph. Theiller, O’Sullivan and Sydney Williams all totaled four kills each, while the Quakers put together a less-than stellar .026 hitting percentage.
Set No. 4
The Quakers rebounded in the fourth set by jumping out to a quick 10-3 lead. Covington, Genske and Covington accounted for Penn’s first 13 points of the final set. DeSilva joined the offensive outburst, smashing back-to-back kills to give Penn a 16-9 advantage. Caldwell and Genske once again teamed up with consecutive kills to extend the lead to 20-12. The Quakers went on to take the final set, 25-15.
Penn will be back in action tomorrow when they continue the Crowne Plaza Invitational with matchups against Delaware State (10:30 a.m.) and Towson (7:30 p.m.).