PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team fell to unbeaten American, 3-0, Saturday evening in opening-round action at the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Invitational at the Palestra. American now improves to 8-0, defeating Penn -- 25-22, 25-23, 25-16 -- who now sits on a 1-4 record.
The Quakers knew the Eagles would be tough competition and stuck with them in the first two sets, but the Red and Blue struggled to keep up their stamina in the third.
In the first set, the two teams were neck-in-neck. Penn was able to hold American within a few points, until a kill by Eagle Juliana Crum pushed them to a 19-15 lead. The Red and Blue refused to go down without a fight and saw to it when sophomore Alex Caldwell blasted a kill, closing the gap to 24-21. After senior Kristen Etterbeek’s serve, sophomore Jasmine DeSilva added another kill to make it 24-22. However, the Quakers could not keep up the momentum as a kill from Eagle Kelly McCaddin ended set one.
Penn would again push American to the limit with some exciting rallies, diving and digging for points, in set two. The Quakers posted the first point and then a back-and-forth battle began. American pushed its way to an 11-7 advantage, but Penn slowly climbed back and made the Eagles sweat. A kill by DeSilva had everyone on the edge of their seats as the scoreboard flashed 24-23 in American’s favor. A timeout by American may have been just enough time to ice the Quakers. The Eagles came out of a tight spot on top because of an error by Penn, resulting in a 25-23 victory.
Being down by the first two sets was a familiar place for the Quakers, who had rallied from a 2-0 deficit earlier in the week against Delaware for the win.
Unfortunately, set three got away from the Red and Blue and the Eagles kept their score soaring higher and higher with a three-point run followed by a four-point run, making it 9-2. Penn tried to recover but could only make it to 16 points, ending the match.
DeSilva finished the evening with 12 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Alexis Genske (11 digs), Caldwell (18 assists), and sophomore Ronnie Bither (15 assists) also reached double digits.
In Saturday's other matches, Weber State defeated La Salle 3-0 and Temple defeated Weber State, 3-1.
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