volleyball
Photo: Thomas Munson

The Red and Blue finally arrived back home on Friday night, and they brought their winning ways with them.

After closing out its season-opening doubleheader with two straight wins last weekend, Penn volleyball defeated Fairfield in its home opener, 3-1, on Friday to extend its winning streak to three contests.

The Quakers (3-2) were paced as usual by seniors Alexis Genske, who tallied 15 kills, and Alex Caldwell, who had 12 kills without an error. Sophomore Kendall Covington was incredibly stout as well, killing the ball 10 times, assisting on eight blocks and notching a solo block to boot.

The Stags (3-4) were led by junior Megan O'Sullivan, who had 12 kills. However, the veteran lost the battle at the net, posting just a .163 hitting percentage and registering only five team blocks -- compared to .245 and 13, respectively, for Penn.

The Quakers had a few chances to grab the lead in a back-and-forth first set, but Fairfield saved a handful set points to put the pressure back on the hosts. The Red and Blue answered the challenge, going ahead 25-24 on a kill from freshman Courtney Quinn — the beneficiary of one of senior Ronnie Bither's 40 assists on the night — before taking the set when an O'Sullivan spike went awry.

The second set was another tight affair. With Fairfield seemingly poised to even up the match after taking a 22-20 lead, Penn took two quick points to even things up.

After the Stags responded with a kill to grab the lead once more, back-to-back kills from Genske gave the Quakers set point before Covington ensured that it would not go to waste by putting one away moments later.

Penn struggled mightily after the intermission, posting a paltry .026 hitting percentage in the third set. Fairfield took advantage, winning the set comfortably to get itself back in the match.

But after squandering a two-set lead in its season opener against Maryland, coach Kerry Carr's squad was not about to let another match get away. The Quakers came out firing in the fourth set, taking a 10-3 lead early and maintaining control the rest of the way.

A kill from senior Jasmine DeSilva put the finishing touches on the Quakers' victory in the opening match of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational.

The Red and Blue have no time to sit back and enjoy their victory, however. The Quakers will be busy both by day and by night on Saturday, with a morning matchup against Delaware State and a battle with Towson. Penn will then close out the tournament on Tuesday night against Delaware.

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