Saturday night at Dillon Gym, the Quakers opened up their 2009 Ivy schedule by emphatically ending that trend, as it swept the Tigers 3-0.
Tomorrow night, when the Quakers (9-4) open Ivy League play and a five-game road trip they’ll face a struggling Tigers team that’s 2-9.
Despite playing in Hawkins’ favorite venue, the Quakers greeted junior Julia Swanson’s return from injury with a 1-2 record as hosts of the Holiday Inn HD Tournament. Penn beat St. Francis (Pa.), 3-0, but fell 3-0 to Santa Clara and 3-1 to tournament champion Albany.
In the second game of this weekend’s Holiday Inn tournament at the Palestra, the Quakers (8-2) will take on Santa Clara (8-4), which coach Kerry Carr said is easily the best team on the non-conference schedule.
The Quakers defeated Ball State in four sets and Towson in five. But Elizabeth Semmens could only manage eight kills as the entire Penn squad struggled Saturday and was swept by George Washington.
The Penn volleyball team is off to its best start since 2000, when it finished 22-8 and took second place in the Ivy League.
The Quakers beat Texas A&M; Corpus Christi, 3-1, Friday, and then knocked off Cal State Bakersfield, 3-1, and swept Houston Baptist Saturday.
In four of the last six seasons, volleyball's pre-Ivy schedule has included a trip to California, a state that boasts the best volleyball recruits (including nine of the 23 current Quakers).
It was three games and three heroes for Penn volleyball in this weekend's inaugural Big 5 Tournament.
With a new season kicking off this weekend as the Quakers host Temple, La Salle and Villanova in the Big 5 Tournament, coach Kerry Carr knows that improved blocking, especially by the middle hitters, will be the key to success in 2009.
Despite struggling with its blocking all season, the 2008 Penn volleyball team finished third in the Ivy League.