Yarimar Rosa has already received international acclaim for her volleyball prowess. At the ripe age of 15, the outside hitter played for the Puerto Rican National Team, and one year later, became captain on its under-18 squad.
Now, she's a junior at Florida International University, which hosts a four-school tournament this weekend.
As they descend on Miami along with Oral Roberts (5-2) and Central Florida (4-4), the Quakers have their eyes on Rosa, a two-time All-American and the school's all-time kills leader.
"We got to see a film where they absolutely shut Rosa down and a film where she had a commanding All-American performance," Penn coach Kerry Carr said. "So we've seen her at her best and not so great. We have to just watch the super-fast arm swing and have the block up early and dropped in on her."
That spike strength is part of what Carr termed a "Puerto Rican style of play," stemming from the intensity of the commonwealth's juniors program.
But before dealing with Rosa, the Quakers (1-1) have to contend with Oral Roberts at 5 p.m. tonight.
Like Bowling Green, which beat Penn on Friday, the Golden Eagles rely on their middle and right-side hitters to produce offense.
"If we fix what we didn't do against Bowling Green," Carr said, "then we should match up well against Oral Roberts."
To help match up with strong right-side hitters, Penn's outside hitters will have to step up on the block, something Carr emphasized in practice this week.
"We've been working to be able to visualize that they're coming," outside hitter and team kills leader Julia Swanson said.
Carr taught her blockers to cover the sideline first, then drop their right hands to cover the cross-court angle.
Swanson will be a big part of that approach.
"She's the stud, more than anyone," Carr said.
Though Swanson is the premier outside hitter for Penn, Carr also plans on using a combination of Elizabeth Semmens and Shannon Moody outside. Semmens excels up front with her blocking and attacking, while Moody has been passing the ball extremely well, so the roommates complement each other nicely.
Offensively, Carr has focused on her middle and right-side hitters to capitalize on the Golden Eagles' weakness blocking those areas. The Quakers will get a boost on the right side with the return of Steph Gwin, who missed last weekend's games with an injury.
"Steph Gwin is our number one right side when she's healthy and she's healthy this week," Carr said.
The Quakers will be trying to strike gold this weekend against the all-metal tournament field: the Golden Eagles, Golden Panthers and Golden Knights.
And while they're preparing to combat Rosa's talents, they know she can only do so much.
"It takes six players," Carr said. "They got crushed by Iowa State; she wasn't on that game. Can she be on three games in a row?"Comments powered by Disqus
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