TOLEDO, OH - Facing its toughest game of the young season against #25 Ohio State, Penn battled valiantly but came up on the short end of a 3-1 decision, losing 25-20, 23-25, 25-13, 25-21.
Despite having the first set tied at 14-14, Ohio State made a big statement early on as the Quakers had a -.031 hitting percentage in the first set. The height advantage of the Buckeyes was on full display as they recorded five blocks in the first set alone and forced Penn into nine attack errors. Susan Stuecheli was the lone bright spot on the attack as she threw down four kills in four attempts.
Emma White was the catalyst for an impressive second set from the Red and Blue. The freshman had six kills in the second set to set the tone for a Penn comeback. Tied at 22-22, Lauren Martin slammeddown one of her two kills in the set and following an attack error from Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary, the Quakers were on the verge of tying things up. Ohio State used a timeout and managed a side out to make it 24-23 in favor of Penn but a service error sent Penn into the break on a high note.
Unfortunately, the momentum swung sharply in the Buckeyes' favor in the third. Ohio State swung an incredible .481 as a team in the set and quickly put Penn in a hole they couldn't escape. Martin, Stuecheli, White and junior Sarah Cobbinah each had two kills in the set.
With nothing to lose, Penn came out firing in the fourth set and quickly found itself ahead 7-3. They maintained the lead throughout much of the set and after a Martin kill, were up 19-16 and looked to be headed to a decisive fifth set. That's when OSU's Emily Danks took over. Four kills from Danks helped spur the Buckeyes to a 24-21 lead and her service ace ended the match.
White was the offensive leader for Penn with 12 kills while Stuecheli added eight with a hitting percentage of .471. Libero Dani Shepherd continued to grind it out on defense with 22 digs in the match.
Penn has a quick turnaround as they take on the Toledo Rockets tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. They conclude the tournament with a 5 p.m. battle against Alabama. Live stats will be available for tomorrow's games here.
Download: OSU-Penn Box.pdf