The Penn women’s volleyball team dropped its season opener on Friday night, falling to LIU Brooklyn in a back-and-forth five set match, 3-2.
Competing in the first of three games at the Maryland Invitational this weekend, the Quakers (0-1) lost the first set of the season, 25-20, against an LIU (2-2) squad that kicked off their 2013 campaign a week ago in Florida. Despite a 7-6 lead early on, the Red and Blue quickly relinquished the lead, and were unable to take it back throughout the rest of the set.
Nevertheless, just as they did all night, the Quakers fought back. Due in large part to 20 team kills in the second set, Penn was able to knot the game up at a set apiece, and took the set, 30-28.
The Red and Blue rode their second set momentum into the third, and were able to grab a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set. Thanks to a set-sealing kill from senior captain Kristen Etterbeek, Penn took the frame, 25-22.
Despite being a set away from defeat, the Blackhawks rallied. Although the Quakers were able to put together back-to-back three-point runs during the set, LIU’s lead reached nine at one point, their largest of the night, and they were able to easily seal the set.
Though Penn fought to regain momentum, LIU was simply too overpowering over the course of the final two sets. The Blackhawks both started and ended the set on five-point runs, winning the decisive fifth set, 15-5.
While the Quakers were disappointed to drop their 2013 opener, there is plenty of room for optimism as the team moves forward. Sophomores Jasmine DeSilva and Michellie McDonald-O’Brien, along with Etterbeek, all finished with double-digit kills, and senior Dani Shepherd led the Quakers with 22 digs.
The Red and Blue will have two chances to avenge Friday night’s loss on Saturday. Penn will take on UMKC at 11 a.m., on Saturday morning, before closing the Invitational with a matchup against the host Terrapins.
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