The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Penn volleyball's weekend
Over the weekend, Penn volleyball split its two matches against Columbia and Cornell. So how did it go down? Here’s the good, bad and ugly!
First Ivy Win: After dropping tough matches to Princeton and Columbia, Penn volleyball got its first win of the Ivy season against Cornell. Riding a five-point run to open the game, the Quakers electrified the Palestra and defeated the Big Red in four sets. The Red and Blue enter the final two matches of a long stay in Philadelphia with much needed momentum, as they will face stalwart Yale and a beatable Brown team at home next weekend.
Stars Light Up: Junior outside hitter Alexis Genske and freshman Emmy Friedler were terrifying from the last set of the Columbia match and on. Whether emotionally spurred by the team’s failure against Columbia or simply pressured by overall doubts surrounding the team, the two dominated the Quakers’ half of the court, as Genske recorded a team-leading 15 kills and Friedler flew for 19 digs against the Big Red. “I think in general the team seemed more confident today,” Genske said. “[Emmy’s] a freshman, and she’s really stepped up to the plate… and we’re so proud of her.”
Slow Starts: Simply put, the Quakers took too long to get going. Against Columbia, Penn conceded the first five points of the first set and was unable to stifle the Lions’ momentum and suffered a 25-12 set loss. The Quakers let four consecutive points slip by them again in the beginning in the third set, epitomizing their inability to start sets strong throughout the young season. “I think we did a really good job [against Cornell] at focusing on the first ten points… We came out strong, and that’s what we’re going to do the rest of this season.
Blocking Struggles: After Dayton doubled the Quakers up in blocking last weekend, Penn again had no answer for its opponents’ blocking game, as the Lions tripled the Red and Blue in blocks. The front line was dominated by Columbia’s Kesi Neblett and Zoe Jacobs, and while Penn out-blocked Cornell 10-5, the team must be able to counter the blocking systems of better teams.
Opposing Teams’ Headbands: As Columbia’s Sarah Burbach got set to serve, a voice from the crowd rang, “I like your headband… No I don’t!” The anonymous fashion expert came from the men’s heavyweight crew team, which has consistently supported its fellow athletes at volleyball and women’s soccer matches. “It’s always an exciting atmosphere to come out and support the girls’ volleyball team,” rower Jon Hennessy said. “We just try to get into other teams’ heads.”
Referees’ Ability to Count: While the calls of referees Dave Jones and Mike Albright were generally unfavorable for the Quakers against Columbia on Friday, one decision had the Quakers particularly fired up. After the referees called a four-touch foul on Penn when clearly only three players had hit, coach Kerry Carr deliberated with the referees for over a minute to no avail. When asked about the call, Genske said, “I’m not allowed to comment on the refereeing because they’re professionals.”