PHILADELPHIA – On the second day of contest in the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational, the University of Pennsylvania volleyball team split with Cleveland State and Georgetown. The Quakers recorded their second sweep of the tournament, defeating the Vikings 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-21), but falling to the Hoyas 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-23). Today’s split earned the Red and Blue a second place finish in the tournament, with junior captain Alexis Genske and junior Alex Caldwell being named to the All-Tournament team.
After a kill by senior Kendall Turner put the Quakers within one of the Vikings in the first set, 5-4, the Red and Blue earned four consecutive points to go up 8-5. Penn never looked back as the team stayed hot and ended the first set with a block by freshmen Aimee Stephenson and Kendall Covington, 25-15.
However, the second set wasn’t quite as one sided.
Kills by Genske and Stephenson and a combined effort block by Covington and Stephenson gave the Quakers an early 3-0 lead, but a three-point lead was the largest amount for either team in the set, as play went back and forth between the two teams. The Red and Blue and the Vikings found themselves tied nine different times during the set and within one point 19 times.
Set three was no different, as Penn and Cleveland State exchanged points after almost every volley. A kill by junior Michellie McDonald-O’Brien put the Quakers up, 15-14. An error by CSU and a kill by Genske and McDonald, the Red and Blue took the largest lead of the set at 18-14. They then extended their lead with five consecutive kills from four different players -- Caldwell, Genske, Covington, and freshman Morgan McKeever – for a 23-15 lead. The Vikings battled and came within three, 24-21, but once again a freshmen duo of Covington and Hayley Molnar ended the match.
Penn found themselves down early, 11-2, against Georgetown in set one. A kill by Turner brought the Quakers within seven points, 12-5, which kicked off a four-point run. A five-point run soon followed that tied the score at 13. The teams exchanged points, until the Hoyas gained momentum and broke a 16-16 tie, eventually winning the set 25-17.
Coming out of a timeout in set two, trailing 10-6, the Red and Blue found themselves within one after scoring four points in five plays. The momentum shift came from points by Genske, Covington, and Stephenson, but Georgetown quickly responded and kept the Quakers from taking control. An exchange of points once again occurred, with the Hoyas edging out the Red and Blue for the set victory, 25-20.
The rules were reversed to start the third set, as Penn held a short lead with Georgetown right on its heels at 14-11. Three straight points from the Hoyas brought the score to an even 14 and neither team could extend its lead to more than one, until Georgetown broke away from an 18-18 tie and never looked back. Down 24-21, Penn threatened to tie the match, scoring two straight before the Hoyas got the final kill to end it.
Genske led the Red and Blue offense with 26 kills and 12 digs on the day, while Covington and Stephenson added 14 of their own. Caldwell posted two double-doubles, her second and third of the tournament, accumulating 39 assists and 24 digs. She also finished the day with 10 kills.
Penn returns to the court for its first road contest on Tuesday the 9th at Delaware.
Download: PennGU Box.pdf