PHILADELPHIA – Seniors Alexis Genske and Alex Caldwell combined for 31 kills on Tuesday night, but the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team could not overcome a two-set deficit in a 3-1 loss to Delaware at The Palestra.
Caldwell was particularly stellar for Penn (4-4), hitting a team-high .400 with a season-high 19 kills. Genske chipped in 12 kills of her own, along with six digs.
Fellow senior Ronnie Bither dished out 51 of Penn’s 58 total assists and notched her second-straight double-double with 15 digs. Sophomore Emmy Friedler was also solid defensively, registering a team-high 20 digs.
The Blue Hens were led by the duo of Alexa Swann and Autumn Jenkins, who combined to tally 27 kills with just two errors. Swann also posted eight block assists and one block solo. As a team, Delaware out-blocked the Quakers by a 17-3 margin.
The Quakers will be back at home on Friday night, as they begin the Big 5 Tournament by hosting Villanova at 7 p.m.
Set No. 1
Delaware earned the early lead in the opening frame, capitalizing on some sloppiness from the Quakers. Following three consecutive errors by Penn, the Blue Hens had a 12-7 lead. Delaware then led 18-13, following a kill from Katie Hillman. From there, Penn chipped away at the lead and cut it just 20-19 and then 23-22. Senior Jasmine DeSilva and Caldwell fueled the Quakers run, combining for nine kills in the first set. Facing two set points at 24-22, the Quakers forced a pair of Delaware errors to even the tally at 24 apiece. Penn staved off another set point at 25-24, but couldn’t seize the momentum fully. A kill by Bryant and an attack error from Courtney Quinn earned Delaware the 1-0 lead.
Set No. 2
Penn once again played from behind in the second set, but battled tough throughout. Down 15-10, Genske and Caldwell combined for four consecutive kills to bring Penn within one. Then trailing 20-16, the Quakers rattled off seven of the next eight points to take a two-point lead. Genske and Caldwell had three more kills in that spurt, along with a Friedler ace. Delaware, though, showed strong resolve and closed out the frame on a 4-0 run to take a 2-0 lead.
Set No. 3
Similar to Saturday night against Towson, the Quakers would not go quietly in the third. Penn leapt out to a 6-0 lead. Genske and Caldwell were once again in on the action, picking up three kills—all assisted by Bither. Quinn knocked an ace, her first of two in the set, to complete the run and force a Delaware timeout. The Quakers would keep the foot on the gas throughout the third set, maintaining a 3-4 point lead for most of the stanza. Quinn also registered a pair of kills in the game, while Caldwell racked up five. As a team, the Quakers hit .483 in a 25-18 third-set win.
Set No. 4
Penn could not keep the momentum in the fourth, registering a match-high 11 errors and hitting -.073 in the set. Swann and Hillman each posted four kills for the Blue Hens. Delaware took the fourth set, 25-14.