PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania volleyball team split its final two contests of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational at The Palestra on Saturday. The Quakers, who are now 4-3 on the season, earned their second sweep of the year in the morning against Delaware State before falling in the nightcap to Towson, 3-1.
Overall, Penn went 2-1 at its home invitational for the second consecutive season.
Match # 1 – Penn 3, Delaware State 0
In their most lop-sided victory of the season, the Quakers recorded 24 more kills than Delaware State and hit a solid .283 for the match. Penn had eight different players record kills, with senior Alexis Genske being the only Quaker in double digits (10). Genske also had 16 digs for her fourth double-double of the season.
Freshmen Grace James and Courtney Quinn played large roles in the win as well. James led the squad with 23 assists, while Quinn trailed just Genske in the kills' department with eight.
Set No. 1
The first set was by far the most competitive of the match, with both teams taking time to feel each other out. The score was knotted eight times before Penn was finally able to seize momentum towards the middle part of the set. Tied at 11, Quinn put the finishing touches on a long rally that handed the Quakers a one-point edge. Genske followed with back-to-back kills to extend Penn’s lead to 18-13. Sophomore Hayley Molnar capped off the first set with a kill to provide the final margin of 25-18.
Set No. 2
The Quakers were much more dominant in the second set, bursting out to a 10-4 lead. Sophomore Aimee Stephenson drilled a pair of kills early on and the Quakers started to fire on all cylinders. Back-to-back blocks and a kill from sophomore Kendall Covington stretched the Quaker lead to 20-9. Genske tallied three consecutive kills to close out the second set and give Penn a 25-9 win.
Set No. 3
Penn did not relent in the third set, putting together a second consecutive 25-9 triumph. As a team, the Quakers hit a match-high .452 in the final frame and seven different players posted at least one kill. Quinn came alive with five kills in the set, while James dished out 10 of her 23 assists. Freshmen Nicole Profit and Kynnedie Maloz each made their Quaker debut in the third set. Profit recorded a kill, while Maloz picked up a dig.
Match #2 – Towson 3, Penn 1
Genske once again led the offensive attack in the loss to Towson, producing 10 kills and 17 digs for her second double-double of the day. Bither also notched a double-double and nearly missed out on a triple-double, recording a line of 37 assists, 13 digs and seven kills. As a team, the Quakers tallied 50 kills and 47 asissts, to go along with a .167 hitting percentage.
For Towson, senior Haley Pa’akaula (16), freshman Jocelyn Kuilan (15) and junior Jessica Lewis (14) all posted double-digit kill totals. Kyana Miller was also instrumental in the win for the Tigers, tallying 21 assists and 13 digs.
Set No. 1
The Quakers and Stags played an extremely-tight opening set that produced 12 ties. The Quakers made their first run with a 5-0 stretch to take a 10-6 lead. From there, it was back and forth for much of the frame. Drama filled the final moments, as Penn and Towson exchanged six consecutive points to land at a 23-23 stalemate. Genske would earn the Quakers a set point at 24-23 but Penn was unable to capitalize. The Tigers scored the final three points of the first set to take a 1-0 lead.
Set No. 2
Undeterred by the opening-set loss, the Quakers hopped out to a 4-1 lead in the second stanza. The Tigers responded with a 4-0 run of their own and momentum once again shifted back and forth. Lewis sparked a run for Towson, recording back-to-back kills to give the Tigers an 18-14 lead and force a Penn timeout. Lewis struck again to keep the four-point lead at 19-15, as Towson closed the second set on a 7-1 run. The Tigers snagged the second set by a score of 25-16.
Set No. 3
Penn did not go quietly in the third, extending the match with a 25-20 victory. Although they played from behind for much of the set, the Quakers compiled one of their best stretches of the match to close the game. Down 19-16, Penn finished the third on a 9-1 run. Caldwell and Genske put the final touches on the hot streak with back-to-back kills at 23-20. Sophomore Emmy Friedler was vital down the stretch as well, hitting back-to-back aces to tie the game at 19. Freshman Taylor Cooper broke the final tie of game with a kill to give Penn a 21-20 lead.
Set No. 4
Towson climbed out to a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and was in the driver’s seat for the majority of the frame. Consecutive kills from Pa’akaula handed the Tigers a 12-9 advantage and Lewis registered her 13th kill of the match to give the visitors a 19-13 edge. Penn fought back though, narrowing the lead to just one point at 23-22, following a Towson attack error. Two kills by Quinn and one by Genske fueled the Penn run. After a kill from Pa’akaula gave Towson a pair of match points, Caldwell helped stave off one with her ninth kill of the night. Annika Rigterink finally closed the door on the Quakers with a kill to give Towson the clinching 25-23 win.
Penn will be back in action on Tuesday night, when they welcome the University of Delaware to The Palestra at 7 p.m.
Download: PENN-DSU Box.pdf