Volleyball Wins Big Five Tourney In Five Sets

Box Score (Penn vs. La Salle pdf)
Box Score(Penn vs. Villanova pdf)

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's volleyball team kept ts record perfect on Saturday night, winning the Big Five Tournament in thrilling five-set fashion against Villanova, 3-2.

Ashley Hawkins was named tournament MVP in leading the Quakers with a career-high 17 kills and six total blocks on Saturday night. The senior also had a .500 attack percentage on the evening.

With a 3-1 victory over La Salle earlier in the evening the Red and Blue needed a victory over Villanova to claim the Big 5 title.

In the first set, Penn struggled early before grabbing a lead at 11-10. The Quakers maintained the lead until the Wildcats came storming back to tie it at 18-18. Villanova then outscored Penn 7-1 over the final eight points to clinch the 25-19 set victory.

The Wildcats continued their momentum into the second set, as they jumped out to a 9-3 lead. They stretched the advantage to 16-7 before an Elizabeth Semmens kill ended the run.

Penn came back, narrowing the lead to 20-15 and then 23-20 before drawing even at 24 apiece on a kill by Julia Swanson. Two consecutive Villanova attack errors gave the Red and Blue the 26-24 win.

The third set saw Penn take an early lead before the Wildcats evened the set up at ten apiece. It would be the last tie of the set, as Villanova went on to win 25-19.

The two teams continued to battle it out in the fourth stanza, until two consecutive kills by Semmens gave Penn a 13-11 lead. The Wildcats got within one at 18-17; however, Hawkins had kills on three of the next four points to effectively put the set out of reach as the Quakers won 25-22.

In the final set, Penn jumped out a 4-1 lead and wouldn't trail the rest of the way. Senior Mary Russell sealed the victory with a service ace for the 15-11 score and tournament victory.

Semmens was named to the Big 5 All-Tournament team for her efforts, including 13 kills and 11 digs in the victory over Villanova. Junior Megan Tryon also had a good game with 44 assists and 16 digs.

In the first match of the afternoon, Penn beat La Salle in four sets, 3-1.

The Explorers jumped out to an 8-1 lead before the Red and Blue evened things up at 18 apiece. The Quakers wouldn't trail again, taking the first set 25-22.

In the second set, it was Penn who went on a run. Trailing 11-9, the Red and Blue scored ten of the next 13 points to grab a convincing 21-12 lead before finishing off the set 25-14.

The Explorers keyed on Penn errors in the third set, as they took an early lead and held it throughout, finishing with a 25-22 victory.

The final set saw La Salle open up with another 8-1 lead. However, the Red and Blue fought back, evening it up 17. The teams went back and forth, before Penn took five of the final six points to clinch the victory.

In her first extended action of the season, freshman Lauren Martin had 14 kills with a .355 attack percentage, while Semmens led the team with 20 kills, nine digs and three total blocks.

Penn takes its perfect 3-0 record on the road next weekend, taking part in the Houston Baptist tournament in Houston Texas. The Quakers will play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday at 10 a.m. in their first match of the tournament.

Big 5 All-Tournament Team

La Salle Rachel Stemper
Penn Elizabeth Semmens
Temple Yun Yi Zhang
Temple Jackie Morrison
Villanova Kim Maroon

Big 5 Tournament MVP: Ashley Hawkins

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