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Penn women's volleyball celebrates on the sidelines as their teammates score against Bucknell on Friday, Sept. 3.

Credit: Samantha Turner

This weekend, the women’s volleyball team swept the competition at the Sheraton University City Volleyball Invitational, compiling a 3-0 record. The Quakers participated in three matches at the Palestra against Bucknell, Canisius, and Coppin State on Friday and Saturday. 

In the first match of the season and of the tournament Friday night, the Red and Blue secured an exhilarating victory over Bucknell with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21). Penn had a .297 hitting percentage as a team, racking up 38 kills and just 11 errors on 91 total attacks. The Quakers started off well, going up 6-5 in the first set, and continued to lead by five points following that. Junior Elizabeth Ford sealed that first set with a final kill, sealing the 25-15 score. 

Credit: Samantha Turner Senior Margaret Planek (right) and Junior Elizabeth Ford (left) block an attempted spike from opposing Bucknell player Jen Sivak at the Palestra on Friday, September 3rd.

During the second set, the Quakers and Bucknell went back and forth — that is, until the Bison committed three straight attack errors. As Penn was leading 23-20, junior Autumn Leak made a kill to make it 24-20, and sealed the set soon after, making the score 25-21. 

Penn started off the third set 5-1. Although the teams traded points, the Quakers mostly led the set. Eventually, a Bison attack error and senior captain Margaret Planek’s final kill sealed the Quaker’s first victory of the season. 

There were some clear standout performances Friday night. Leak hit a career-high 16 kills; sophomore Madison Risch notched nine digs, four kills, and a block assist. Freshman Sydney Ormiston started at the setter position and racked up 28 assists. 

The second match took place Saturday morning against Canisius. Like Friday, the Quakers only needed three sets and finished off 3-0. In the first set of the match, the Quakers fell behind 9-4, and then 12-5. Penn's coach Meredith Schamun then called a timeout for the Quakers, after which Penn tied the Golden Griffins at 13-13. 

Canisius then took the lead again, but committed three attack errors. Risch and senior Daniela Fornaciari both had kills that put Penn in the lead by one. Each team tied it up multiple times, until a Planek kill and Ormiston service secured the 25-23 win. 

Credit: Kylie Cooper Senior Daniela Fornaciari spikes the ball over the net in the 2nd game of the Invitational versus Canisius on Saturday, September 4th.

The second set was also a back-and-forth affair, with the teams tying on 14 occasions, until Canisius started committing errors. Eventually, Penn took the win, 25-23. 

The Quakers started to fall behind in the third set, but eventually gained control to keep the lead to win the set — and the match — with a score of 25-20. 

Saturday night, the Red and Blue faced the Eagles, who forced four sets, yet the Quakers still emerged as the victors, winning 3-1.

Coppin State started off the first set fast and kept their lead through the whole set, ending with a score of 25-19. The Red and Blue came back strong in the second set, maintaining their own lead to finish the set with a 25-15 win. 

The third set had multiple instances where the teams were tied, and the lead changed six times. The match culminated in a 25-25 tie; however, Planek and Leak iced the match to eke out a 27-25 decision. 

Credit: Nicholas Fernandez Sophomore Madison Risch serves the ball toward the opposing team Bucknell at the Palestra on Friday, September 3rd.

The last set was also incredibly nerve-wracking. There were 10 more ties, and three more lead changes. Penn collected four straight points from Risch, sophomore Emerson Flornes, Risch again, and then a combined block by Flornes and junior Madeline McGregor. McGregor later added another kill, and Leak finished the match with her 21st kill of the night. 

The Quakers had an amazing weekend to start off their season and Schamun’s coaching era. Two players received awards from the Ivy League Weekly Awards. Leak was named MVP of the tournament and Ivy League Player of the Week, after she set her career-high in kills twice (16, 21).

This weekend, Leak had 50 total kills and a .311 hitting percentage. Additionally, Ormiston was named to the all-tournament team and named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. 

Next up, the Quakers will be headed to Chicago this weekend to hopefully add to their win streak at the DePaul Invitational.