Junior outside hitter Alexis Genske and company came up just short of a three game sweep on Saturday.

Credit: Aaron Campbell

Colgate volleyball decided to wear sleeves during their Friday night match against Penn. Clearly, they weren’t prepared for the heat at the Palestra, but they were even less prepared for the heat the Quakers would bring on the court.

In its opening match of the year, Penn (1-0) took care of business in its season opener and first leg of the weekend’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, defeating Colgate (1-1) in straight sets.

On what was a characteristically steamy night at the Palestra, the Red and Blue got off to an inauspicious start, with junior outside hitter Jasmine DeSilva going down with an apparent knee injury. She would not return for the rest of the game, although she was able to walk gingerly off the court.

However, the Quakers forged on, taking the first set relatively easily – 25-20 – off the strength of some clean play and the firepower of junior outside hitter Alexis Genske.

Coming off a five set victory, Colgate was not about to go down without a fight. The Raiders battled hard in the second set, relying largely on the excellent play of senior Diane Seely who recorded a game high eight kills.

However, the Quakers put together a gritty team effort and were able to hold on to take the second set, 25-23.

Then the floodgates opened.

The Quakers – who were clearly the more athletic squad – put together a dominant final set, finishing the Raiders off 25-15.

Junior Alex Caldwell was the clear standout for the Red and Blue, registering a phenomenally efficient game with seven kills, 17 assists, 13 digs, and zero errors.

Despite Caldwell’s excellent individual effort, it was the team’s coherence that allowed for such a solid opening statement.

Coming off an offseason full of change, the Quakers answered a lot of questions with their clean offensive play and defensive position, led by new libero Rachel Baader.

The quick result bodes well for Penn, which has two additional matches against Cleveland State and Georgetown on Saturday.

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