Volleyball Goes 1-1, Finishes Second at Big 5

Penn-La Salle Box Score (pdf)

Penn-Villanova Box Score (pdf)

PHILADELPHIA - Penn volleyball (2-1) settled for a split ofits matches on Saturday to finish in second placeat the season-opening Big 5 Tournament. The Quakers took care of La Salle in three sets in the 4 p.m. match, winning 25-15, 26-24 and 25-22. In the de facto championship game, Villanova, who finished the tournament a perfect 3-0, defeated Penn in four sets. The Wildcats jumped out to the early 2-0 lead, winning the first sets 25-19 and 25-17, but the Quakers rallied from down 21-18 in the third totakethe set, 25-23. Villanova would then close out the match with a 25-20 victory in the fourth set.

Lauren Martin and Amanda Pacheco were awarded All-Tournament honors as the pair led the Penn attack with a combined 65 kills in three matches. Pacheco's hitting percentage of .407 leads the team.

The day started on the right note for the team as they cruised to a straight sets victory over La Salle. Freshman Emma White received her first career start in the contest and rewarded Head Coach Kerry Carr's decision by turning in 10 kills and 11 digs in the match. Her big serve flummoxed the La Salle defense on multiple occasions, most notably when back-to-back aceshelped stakePenn to a 5-0 advantage in the second set. The Explorers rallied back late in the set, digging out of a 21-15 hole totie the score at 24-24, but an attack error gave the Quakers a match point and they capitalized behind a Martin kill, one of her eight in the match.

The third set followed a similar pattern as Penn jumped out to a big lead early on before allowingLa Salle to slowly chip away. The Quakers' lead crested at 21-14 but they managed to close to within 21-20 before Coach Carr had seen enough and used her first time-out. A well-executed backset from Kristin Schoonover to White produced a sideout to stem the tide and White delivered the game-winner moments latercourtesy ofMeghan Connolly.

Schoonover and Connolly once again split setting duties with equal success. Schoonover ended the match with 19 assists while Connolly chipped in with 18. The Quakers outhit La Salle .279 to .162 for the match and were also dominant on the defensive side, denying the Explorers six times at the net to just one block for La Salle.

In the tournament finale, the offensive wizardry of tournament MVP Morgan Petkovich was too much for the Quakers to overcome despite nine team blocks. The Villanova junior had 23 kills in the match while Maggie Mergen added another 16.

Lauren Martin was once again a bright spot for Penn as she powered down 14 kills while White (nine kills) and Pacheco (eight kills) provided support.

'Nova appeared primed to sweep Penn as they led for nearly the whole third set, but the Quakers fought to the end and eventually took the lead at 23-22 after back-to-back kills by Martin. With the score tied at 23, the Quakers bothered Mergen into consecutive attack errors to force the match to a fourth set.

The overall team height of Villanova caught up with Penn in the fourth as the Quakers committed seven attack errors and hit only .167, triggering their downfall. Despite 60 kills from the Wildcats as a team, there were some solid performances from the defense. Dani Shepherd was everywhere on the backline, hustling for 15 digs, and Susan Stuecheli got in the mix with six block assists.

Penn returns to action next weekend in Toledo, Ohio as part of the Rocket Classic. The Red and Blue face 2010 Sweet 16 participant Ohio State in Friday's opening match set for 5 p.m. before concluding the tournament Saturday with a 10 a.m. date with host Toledo and a 5 p.m. battle with Alabama.

Big 5 All-Tournament Team
Morgan Petkovich, Villanova(MVP)
Allie DiBernardo, Villanova
Lauren Martin, Penn
Amanda Pacheco, Penn
Collin Wallace, Temple
Breanna Mazalewski, La Salle

Download: Penn-Villanova Box.pdf