While coach Kerry Carr and the Penn volleyball team were looking mostly to grow as a team on the road against difficult opponents this weekend, the Quakers almost returned to Philadelphia with some big upsets.
Matches against Toledo and Alabama both went to five sets before Penn ultimately fell to both. And a solid showing against No. 25 Ohio State — the Quakers evened up the match at 1-1 before the Buckeyes dropped them 3-1 — made the trip worthwhile.
Though the Red and Blue kept up with the Buckeyes in the first set to a 14-14 tie, they eventually fell, 25-20. The Quakers came back to win the next set, 25-23, before dropping the next two sets, 25-13, and 25-21, respectively.
The next morning, Penn led, 2-1, against Toledo (4-1), but couldn’t hang on. Toledo won the next two sets and the match, 3-2.
In the nightcap, Penn again jumped out to a 2-1 lead, this time against Alabama. Replacing Penn’s all-time digs leader Madison Wojciechowski, sophomore libero Dani Shepherd made some history of her own with a school-record 41 digs.
Despite Shepherd’s performance, the Crimson Tide came from behind to win the fourth and fifth sets for the win.
With the losses, the Quakers fell to 2-4 on the season. Next up for Penn is Rhode Island, the first game of a tripleheader Friday at noon. Penn hosts the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational and also plays UMBC and William & Mary in the event.
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