Tuesday night, Penn volleyball made the 45-minute drive to Newark, Del. to take in Delaware in hopes of keeping up the momentum from their 2-1 showing at the season-opening Crowne Plaza West Philadelphia Invitational.
The Blue Hens sent the Quakers packing almost as quickly as they had arrived.
On the first stop of their four-match road trip the Red and Blue (2-2) were obliterated by Delaware (5-3) in three straight sets.
The Red and Blue seemed poised to win following takedowns of Colgate and Cleveland State this past weekend at the Palestra.
After Penn dropped the first set to Delaware by a 25-22 margin, it seemed as though the Quakers could pull out a victory in the nest of the Blue Hens. A kill by junior Ronnie Bither gave the Quakers a 15-12 lead, but the hosts would dominate the rest of the way.
That was close as the Red and Blue would get to victory. The second set saw Delaware dominate, 25-9, and as the point differential grew, so too it seemed did Delaware’s confidence. The Blue Hens recorded 11 kills in the second set compared to just two errors. Meanwhile, the Quakers couldn’t get out of their own way, committing 10 errors and managing only six kills.
After what could only be described as a fluke of a set, Penn attempted to mount a comeback in the third set. Despite their best efforts the Red and Blue couldn’t stop the ego blown Blue Hens and fell, 22-18, in the final set. Delaware put the Quakers away with a whopping 17 kills, which made the fact that Penn only committed four errors in the third set irrelevant.
On a night that saw 21 errors on the part of the Red and Blue and had three Quakers hitting in the negatives, there was one Penn player that stayed strong throughout the entire match.
The performance of 2013 Second-Team All Ivy junior Alex Caldwell, who continues to play at a high level this season, was a highlight. Caldwell hit .500 for the match and accumulated nine kills compared to just one error, creating a team best 12 points on the night. She also compiled 10 assists.
The Quakers will no doubt focus on cutting down on their own mistakes as the week rolls on and they head out west to the Stanford Tournament where they will face Santa Clara, #20 Duke and of course, top-ranked Stanford.
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