PHILADELPHIA - After a weekend in Miami for the Florida International Invitational, Penn stays closer to home for a slate of four games. Friday and Saturday will see the Quakers compete at the Villanova Classic, and on Sunday the Red and Blue host Seton Hall at The Palestra.
The schedule for the Villanova Classic has Penn playing La Salle Friday at 4:30 p.m., and then Bucknell (10 a.m.) and the host Wildcats (7 p.m.) on Saturday.
The Quakers enter the weekend with a 1-4 record and are looking to bounce back from a tough weekend at the FIU Invitational. Penn dropped all three matches it played in the Sunshine State, but head coach Kerry Carr feels that her team gained some good experience and will use the trip to Florida as motivation for the rest of the season.
“We have been energetic this week in practice and have worked hard on fixing things we have been slow on,” she said. “There have been hard-fought battles in scrimmages at the end of practice. We have been anxious to improve and the team has been very coachable this week.”
Last season, Penn played two of its Villanova Classic opponents and swept both teams. Last September, Penn travelled up the Main Line to Nova and took all three sets from the Wildcats by scores of 30-28, 30-20 and 30-23. The Quakers also swept La Salle on its home court, winning 30-27, 30-25 and 30-19.
Carr feels her team is excited for the chance to play some local competition.
“This will be a great Pennsylvania tournament,” she said. “There is a lot of pride and bragging rights at stake this weekend.”
Friday’s opponent, La Salle, currently possesses a 3-6 record pending Wednesday’s match with Fairleigh Dickinson. Last weekend, the Explorers dropped a pair of matches, to Iona (3-1) and Hartford (3-1). The Explorers bring with them a balanced offense that includes five women who have more than 45 kills, including Jackie Kushman who leads the way with 61. Penn has had great success in the all-time series with La Salle, holding a 22-2 record in the city rivalry.
Bucknell enters the weekend with a 3-7 record. The Bison started the season with a five-match losing streak before picking up wins over Tennessee-Martin and Sam Houston State. Kaitlin Segal has 131 kills over the ten matches for Bucknell, good for the team lead.
The Wildcats have an even 5-5 record ten matches into the season, with all but one of their wins coming by means of 3-0 sweeps. The Cats have two players with more than 100 kills in 2008 -- Morgan Petkovich (121) and Dana Tartasky (117). Petkovich, only a freshman, has made an immediate impact in the Villanova lineup.
On Sunday, Penn returns to The Palestra after a six-match road trip to host Seton Hall. Last year, the Pirates hosted the Quakers in Penn’s first match of the season and picked up a 3-1 victory. The Pirates are currently 5-5 with matches upcoming against NJIT (Sept. 17) and Lafayette (Sept. 19). Sarah Osmun is a dual threat for the Pirates, leading the squad in both kills (127) and digs (107). Brittany Raher averages 11.54 assists a game.
Carr wants to see her team show up for all four matches and play solid in all facets of the game.
“We need to put offense and defense together in one match,” she said.