According to junior Anne Magnuson, defense is the key to success for Penn volleyball.
"When our defense is on, we're on" she said.
Fortunately for the Quakers, their defense was on this weekend, as the team earned three wins in four attempts, improving their record to 4-5.
Coming off four straight losses, the Quakers rebounded by winning their first six sets at the Villanova Classic, sweeping La Salle (3-10) on Friday evening and Bucknell (4-10) the following morning. Although Villanova (8-5) swept Penn Saturday night in the last game of the tournament to earn the trophy, the Quakers returned to the Palestra and avenged the crushing loss with a 5-set victory over Seton Hall (6-7) yesterday.
Sophomore Madison Wojciechowski stood out on defense for the Quakers against Seton Hall. On multiple plays, Wojciechowski bailed out her teammates with miraculous digs. The Quakers libero noticeably frustrated the Pirates hitters, running down balls from everywhere on the court and helping put setter Megan Tryon in perfect position for her 37 assists.
Magnuson also saved her best for Seton Hall. She registered 14 kills on a team-high .364 hitting, including the final two kills of the decisive fifth set.
"She had the most impressive performance of the weekend," Carr said. "What she's got now is confidence. She is absolutely going to be one of our best players."
Sophomore Julia Swanson fought illness against Seton Hall, gutting out her toughest match of the season. The outside hitter complemented Magnuson offensively to the tune of 18 kills.
But her 19 digs are more indicative of this game's story. The Quakers turned in a season-high 79 digs, including an impressive 13 by Shannon Moody and 12 by freshman Logan Johnson. The defensive leader, however, was Wojciechowski.
With Penn leading the fifth set 13-10, a Seton Hall block almost fell on Penn's side, but for the 24th time in the match Wojciechowski dove for the ball and kept the rally going. Her dig sent the ball straight to Tryon, who assisted Magnuson for the point. After a Swanson service error, Magnuson did it again, slamming the ball down the line to the far right corner, perfectly placed. The Pirates could only watch, hoping Magnuson's ball sailed long, but it didn't, and Penn took the set, 15-11, and clinched their first 5-set win of the season.
The three earlier games weren't as exciting. Despite having four more attacks than the Wildcats, Penn was swept 25-17, 25-22 and 25-19 by their local rivals.
The sweeps over La Salle and Bucknell were led by All-Tournament selections Kathryn Turner and Swanson, who had season highs of 20 kills and a .386 hitting percentage against La Salle. Turner turned in 12 kills of her own on .417 hitting. The 1-2 punch of Turner and Swanson offensively overwhelmed the Explorers.
"They just out-hit us," La Salle head coach Dave Stever said. "Offense, offense, offense. They had it and we didn't."Comments powered by Disqus
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