The Georgetown volleyball team had to deal with a rude guest this past weekend. A young, undersized Penn squad traveled to the Georgetown Classic and nearly knocked off a heavily favored Hoyas squad in its own house. The Quakers (8-5) almost toppled the Hoyas (9-5), one of the top teams in the Big East, during a weekend in which they went 1-2. A strong showing against an excellent Georgetown team showed that Penn is starting to mature. "Georgetown is very strong. They took the Big East last year, and we came out on fire against them," Penn coach Kerry Major said. In a match that didn't look to be very close on paper, the Quakers were defeated, 3-2. "We came out and we decided that we were going to dig them and outblock them," Major said. The Quakers did outblock Georgetown, 13-11. After losing the first game 15-7, Penn rebounded with a 15-12 victory in the second game. "We had some small goals instead of winning, because on paper we shouldn't win against a team that's full of 6'2", 6'1" international players," Major said. After losing the third game 15-7 and winning the fourth one 15-13, the Quakers found themselves in an unexpectedly pleasant position. They were heading into a fifth and final game against a top team, with a chance to pull off a huge upset. That upset never came to pass, however. The Hoyas beat Penn in the final game, 15-8. "The fifth game we kind of realized, OHey, we're winning' and got a little scared that we were beating a top Big East team," Major explained. Penn junior Kelly Szczerba led the team with 12 kills, 12 digs and 10 total blocks, while junior Stephanie Horan chipped in with 10 kills and 11 digs. Quakers freshman Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, who was the only member of the Red and Blue to make the All-Tournament Team, was solid on defense with 15 digs. "[She] is our freshman outside, and [her selection] really surprised me because her numbers weren't anything amazing," Major said. "But the other coaches said, OYou know she's not flashy, but she manages to put the ball in the court.'" Although Penn failed to get the victory, this game was a huge confidence booster. "I think the team learned that we are better than we think we are by taking some games off of Georgetown," Major said. The team that showed up for the match against Georgetown was not the same team that stepped on the court against Maryland-Baltimore County earlier on Friday. Penn fell to the Retrievers, 3-1. "I don't feel we played very well," Major said. "We should have beaten them." The Quakers continued to improve throughout the weekend, finally breaking through with a win against Florida Atlantic on Saturday to end the tournament. "We came out against a really tough Florida Atlantic team that killed UMBC -- and we had lost to UMBC, so we were prepared for a battle -- and we just came out right from the start and put them down right away," Major said. It wasn't even close, as the Quakers won 15-10, 15-2 and 15-10. Sophomore Stacey Carter led the attack with 12 kills. Carter had been sidelined with what appeared to be a stress fracture, but when it turned out she was fracture-free, she was able to return to action. "Stacey Carter played amazing," Major said. "She came on, and everything she touched was a kill."Comments powered by Disqus
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