PHILADELPHIA – In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team is once again participating in the Side-Out Foundation’s Dig Pink! rally during this weekend’s Ivy contests with Yale and Brown. The Quakers will sport their pink jerseys in support of the cause when they take on the Bulldogs Friday night at 7 p.m. and against the Bears on Saturday at 5 p.m. The first 100 fans to come out and support the Red and Blue this weekend will receive pink pom poms. In addition, the first 50 spectators on Saturday will also take home pink sunglasses.
Penn is also raising money for the Side-Out Foundation. All proceeds benefit the foundation, which in turn awards grants to medical research organizations and entities dedicated to providing patient services to breast cancer patients and their families. If you would like to help the Quakers reach their campaign goal, you can donate online by clicking here. A donation box will also be available during both matches and can be found at the Penn Rewards stand. Any amount is appreciated, as even the smallest amount can make all the difference.
Live stats of both the match against Yale and Brown will be available by clicking here.
The Penn Sports Network will also provide live HD video streaming, which can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network. Video coverage of the matches can be found by clicking the following links.
Penn vs. Yale
Penn vs. Brown
Last Time on the Court: Columbia and Cornell
Penn captured its first Ivy win of the season, when the team split this past weekend’s contests against Columbia and Cornell to improve to 1-2 in league play. The Quakers first ran into trouble on Friday with the Lions, who took command early and defeated the Red and Blue without falter in three straight sets (25-12, 25-22, 25-13). By Saturday, Penn turned things around and outlasted the Big Red in a four set match (25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 25-23).
After Friday night’s struggle, Penn found its rhythm quickly against Cornell and rattled off five straight points to start the match. The Quakers kept a clam and focused composure all the while maintaining its high energy attitude, both on and off the court. At the match’s end, junior Alex Caldwell logged the first triple-double of the season, tallying 12 kills, 22 assists, and 16 digs. Junior captain Alexis Genske contributed a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs, while senior Kendall Turner also reached double-digit kills with 10. In addition to the offensive attacks, Turner protected the net with six blocks. Defensively, Penn saw five players reach double-digit status in digs.
Scouting Yale (6-6, 2-1 Ivy)
Despite a narrow 3-2 loss to Harvard this past Friday (19-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-21, 9-15), Yale finished its weekend victorious with a sweep over Dartmouth in Hanover (25-21, 25-18, 25-16). The Bulldogs’ success over the Big Green holds significance, as the two rivals are now tied in the Ivy League rankings.
Yale’s performance in both matches displayed the team’s offensive depth and talent, particularly that of freshman Kaitlyn Gibbons. Gibbons, who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, hit an impressive .538 against the Big Green, managing eight kills in 13 attempts and adding 14 digs. Gibbon’s honor marks the fourth week in a row that a Yale player has earned the weekly award, and the Bulldogs’ recent monopoly on the award is supported by the noteworthy performances put on by those players every week. Freshman Kelsey Crawford, named Ivy League Rookie of the Week the previous three times, contributed significantly to Yale’s win over Dartmouth with 35 assists and 12 digs.
Scouting Brown (6-9, 1-2 Ivy)
Following this past Friday’s competitive match against Dartmouth that resulted in a tough 3-2 loss (17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 24-26, 12-15), the Bears took two sets in extra points to triumph over Harvard in Cambridge on Saturday, 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 27-25).
Brown came out strong in the first set, firing on all cylinders and scoring six points in a row to start. After dropping set one, the Crimson responded to the Bear’s intensity in the following two sets with a force of their own. Harvard threatened to seal the deal with match point at 24-22 in the second set, but Brown came back and captured the next four points to go ahead 2-0. The next set followed a similar fashion, with the Crimson knotting the set at 25-25. In comeback fashion, a kill by senior Maddie Lord and a service ace by sophomore Payton Smith gave the Bears the winning points. Top contributors for Brown included California natives Smith and McKenna Webster. Smith managed nine kills and a .438 hitting percentage, while Webster, a junior, had 10 kills and hit .348.
The Story Behind Dig Pink!
Executive Director, Rick Dunetz, became the head volleyball coach at West Springfield High School the same year his mother’s breast cancer returned. When Dunetz shared his mother's story with the team, they were filled with inspiration and had a “miracle season”, claiming a status their high school had never achieved -- District Champions. Gloria, Dunetz's mother, watched the determined girls and with new found hope, she wasstrengthened to continue the battle six-year battle. Gloria passed away in the summer of 2010.
Dunetz saw a transformation in his team and mother, which encouraged him to begin a foundation that reached out to other athletes and cancer patients. He wanted to bring hope and energy to the breast cancer cause.