PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team opened the annual Big 5 Tournament on Friday night, falling 3-0 (19-25, 19-25, 14-25) to Villanova at The Palestra.
Alex Caldwell continued her efficient ways for the Quakers (4-5), putting up a team-high eight kills and hitting .429. Alexis Genske and Kendall Covington each chipped in with seven kills, while setter Ronnie Bither registered a team-high 21 assists. As a team, the Quakers posted season lows in both hitting percentage (.123) and kills (31).
Villanova was led by the trio of Allie Loitz, Amanda Pederson-Henry and Claire Crutchfield. All three Wildcats put forth double-digit kills. Primary setter Emma Pettit dished out all 42 of Villanova’s assists and as a team, the Wildcats hit .303 with 46 kills.
Penn will continue the Big 5 Tournament tomorrow at Temple with matchups against the Owls (10 a.m.) and La Salle (4 p.m.).
Set No. 1
The trio of Genske, Caldwell and Kendall Covington lifted the Quakers early in the first. Covington registered her second kill of the match to tie the game at seven, and then another to take a 15-13 lead. The Wildcats responded to the two-point deficit, going on a 6-1 spurt to grab a 19-16 lead. A kill from Genske brought the Quakers within two at 20-18, but that would be as close as Penn would get. Crutchfield put the Quakers away at 25-19.
Set No. 2
Villanova used the first-set momentum to jump out to an 11-3 lead in the second. Loitz had a pair of aces and a kill in the run. Back-to-back errors from the Quakers then extended the lead to 15-5. Penn would not go quietly. Trailing 19-10, the Quakers broke off five consecutive points to cut the lead to four. Genske capped off the run to force a Villanova timeout. The lead would eventually shrink to three (20-17) after a Caldwell ace. Feeling the pressure, Villanova closed strong—finishing the second on a 5-2 run to take the set, 25-19.
Set No. 3
Villanova saved its best for last, hitting a match-high .438 in the third. The Wildcats leapt out to a 13-5 lead and never looked back, taking the final set by a tally of 25-14. Loitz led her squad with five kills in the final frame, while Pederson-Henry chipped in four of her own.
Download: Penn-Nova Box.pdf