PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team came up short in the opening half of the first full Ivy weekend this season. The Quakers hosted Columbia at The Palestra, where they fell in straight sets to the Lions (25-12, 25-22, 25-13). Leading the way for the Quakers was junior Ronnie Bither with 16 assists and 11 digs. Junior Alexis Genske added 10 kills to the team's effort, while Alex Caldwell, also a junior, put up another 10 assists for the Red and Blue. Freshman Emmy Friedler led Penn’s defensive efforts with 15 digs.
Columbia was hot out of the gate, scoring five points in-a-row. It proved to ultimately be too much for the Quakers to come back from and the Lions easily took set one, 25-12.
The Red and Blue put up a fight in set two and took the first point, after Caldwell put down Bither's set for a kill. A back-and-forth battle ensued, but Columbia scored four points in a row to take a 12-8 lead. Genske ended the run with a kill, and helped give Penn some momentum. The Quakers took seven of the next 11 points to come within one at 16-15. Despite the efforts, the Lions put up five consecutive points and held on to the lead for the 25-22 win.
Tied at 2-2, Columbia pushed ahead for a 6-2 lead in the third set. A Penn timeout turned out to be effective as Lion Zoe Jacobs recorded a service error. However, Columbia didn’t remained fazed and extended its lead after back-to-back five-point runs to take a 19-6 lead. Lion Bailey Springer went behind the line to serve up the potential match point at 24-11, but the Quakers were looking to make some magic happen. A service error, a kill by freshman Hayley Molnar, and a block by junior Michellie McDonald-O’Brien and senior captain Trina Ohms gave the Red and Blue some hope, but Columbia’s Anja Malesevic responded with the set winning kill, 25-13.
Penn will look to capture its first Ivy win against Cornell tomorrow in The Palestra at 7 p.m.
Download: Penn vs. Columbia Boxscore.pdf