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Senior captain Kendall Covington was one of the main contributors for Penn volleyball in their season-opening weekend.

Credit: Carson Kahoe

A new era for Penn volleyball is underway. 

The Red and Blue kicked off their season under new coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley at the George Mason Invitational this weekend, winning two out of their three matches in Virginia.  

The Quakers (2-1) also saw two of their players, senior Kendall Covington and freshman Parker Jones, named to the all-tournament team. 

In the first match, the Quakers took on Campbell and lost a tight five set match (25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 18-25, 15-10).

The Red and Blue used a heavy dose of hitting from Jones and All-Ivy junior Courtney Quinn against the Camels (5-1). Quinn tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs, and Jones, who didn’t waste any time notching the first double-double of her Penn career, had a team-leading 13 kills to go along with 14 digs. Sophomore Caroline Furrer led the defensive effort, registering a career-high 20 digs in a match which saw four Quakers reach double-digit digs.  

In the second match, the Red and Blue were victorious over Central Michigan in four sets (25-16, 25-21, 19-25, 25-17). For the second straight match, Jones and Furrer led the team in kills (20) and digs (18), respectively, against the Chippewas (5-1). 

Schumacher-Cawley was proud of how the team came back after the opening loss. 

“I thought we did some nice things [against Campbell] and pushed to go five sets, but the team bounced back very well and turned a corner,” she said.  

The Red and Blue took that momentum into their third game and swept host George Mason in three sets (25-12, 25-17, 25-21). The clinical performance saw the Quakers use multiple runs to pull away from the Patriots (1-6). The Red and Blue’s attack was in its best form of the weekend as they registered a .293 hitting percentage and had five players eclipse a .250 hitting percentage.

“I think we got better every match,” Jones commented. 

The final match saw Jones continue her great opening weekend in a Penn uniform with a team-high 10 kills and an impressive .348 hitting percentage. The match also saw Covington hit a ridiculous .500 with nine kills. 

Schumacher-Cawley praised the performance of Covington and Jones but quickly added that “everyone contributed.”

Covington echoed the thoughts of her coach.

“It’s definitely a collective team thing (winning a match),” she said. “It’s not just one person hitting really well or one person passing well, it’s all of us working together collectively.”

It’s safe to say that the Red and Blue are confident they will be in good hands with Schumacher-Cawley for the rest of the season, and she certainly enjoys coaching this group. 

“This is a funny, funny group,” she laughed. “They’re led by a great group of seniors that are committed to the program, and we compete hard.” 

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