After last night's pummeling of Lehigh, the Penn volleyball team may be asking itself, "Who needs seniors?" The incredibly young but obviously talented Quakers (3-1) showed the Engineers no mercy in easily sweeping the match, three games to none, Wednesday night in Penn's home opener. But the 3-0 game total only tells part of the story of Penn's domination. After taking a quick 9-4 lead in the first game, Penn seemed to slack off and allowed Lehigh (3-4) to reel off four straight points to get within one of the Quakers. Not only would Lehigh fail to score four straight points again, the Engineers would barely score a total of four points the rest of the way. Lehigh's little burst lit a fire inside the Quakers as Penn tore Lehigh apart, winning the match, 15-9, 15-1, 15-2. "I was kind of disappointed with how we played in the first game because we were playing much slower and we sunk down to their level," Penn coach Kerry Major said. "But the good thing was that they corrected it and started playing the high-pace game we like to see." The Quakers nearly accomplished a rare feat in volleyball not once, but twice, by almost shutting out Lehigh in consecutive games. In the second game, Penn built a 12-0 lead before Lehigh finally scored its only point of the game. In the third game, Penn once again flirted with volleyball's equivalent of a perfect game, this time building a lead of 14-0 and having three service opportunities to win the match before Lehigh was able to rattle off two points. "In the first game they had a smart strategy, and they were hitting our holes softly rather than just trying to bang the ball like we're used to," Major said. "But we figured it out and adjusted, so that's something to be proud of." Freshman Lauren Carter and junior Stephanie Horan led the Quakers with eight kills apiece. Horan played a wonderful all-around game, also leading Penn in digs. Freshman Meghan Schloat led Penn with an impressive 23 assists filling in for regular setter Jodie Antypas. Freshman Katie Brandt also shined for Penn at the Palestra, tallying six kills and finishing third behind Horan and fellow freshman Elizabeth Kwak-Hefferan with eight digs. Kwak-Hefferan finished with nine digs and seven kills. "Being a freshman, I was just totally excited to be out there and get some minutes," Brandt said. "A couple of time we had only freshmen on the court, so that was pretty neat." As it became increasingly evident that this match was practically over before it started, the Quakers decided to use the opportunity to get all nine of their newest members some quality minutes. "At first, when we had all freshmen out there, I was scared because I was like OOh my gosh, it's all freshmen', but I knew they could handle it," Major said. After the match, it was obvious that the only players who couldn't handle it were donning the away jerseys. "They never stopped fighting the whole match, and they played their hardest until the final point," Horan said. "But although we came out a little slow, we just worked hard and played well the entire time." The fact that a Quakers team overflowing with freshmen could so handily defeat Lehigh bodes well for the future of Penn volleyball. "We have four more years to go, and I think we're going to be amazing," Lauren Purdo said. "We all get along so well and we're friends on and off the court. I think we recognize what a special situation we are in."Comments powered by Disqus
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