Penn Volleyball Falls to Penn State
Sunday, December 06, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Quakers played one of their best matches of the season, challenging the top ranked Nittany Lions in each of the first two sets before going down in three on Saturday night at Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State.
Penn dropped the match by scores of 25-20, 25-17 and 25-16, though the team took leads of at least three in each of the first two sets, and held the Nittany Lions to just a .172 hitting percentage in the third.
The loss ends the Red and Blue's season at 23-6. Senior Elizabeth Semmens had a team-high 11 kills and added four digs, while junior Julia Swanson had seven kills and seven digs. Fellow classmate Madison Wojciechowski added a team-high 13 digs.
Penn came out firing in the first set, taking the two-time defending national champions by surprise. The Quakers, undeterred by the crowd of almost 3,000, scored the first two points. Following after a Penn State kill, they continued on a run behind Swanson and freshman Lauren Martin. The two combined for four kills as Penn went up 7-2 early. The Red and Blue maintained the five point advantage, at 10-5 behind a kill from Elizabeth Semmens.
The Nittany Lions used a 6-1 run to get back in it and grab their first lead of the match at 12-11. The two teams traded points, bringing the set to a 15 -15 draw. Penn then went on a 4-1 to grab a 19-16 lead. A kill by Darcy Dorton ended the run and ignited her team, as they scored the next six points to go up 23-19. Penn State held on for the 25-20 victory.
Undeterred by the end of the first set, the Quakers opened up a 4-1 lead in the second, the last of which coming on a Swanson kill. The Nittany Lions clawed back to even it at 7-7 and then proceeded to score nine straight to go up 16-7. The two teams traded points for the remainder of the set with Penn State winning 25-17.
In the final set, Penn committed five attack errors early as Penn State opened up a 9-4 lead. The Quakers got within four at 11-6 on a kill by Semmens, and again at 14-10, but were unable to get any closer. The Nittany Lions used a 5-1 run to put the match out of reach at 19-11. They finished with the 25-16 victory.
The Red and Blue finished with 33 kills, just five less than its counterparts who had 38. The Quakers also out dug Penn State, 37-35, becoming just the fourth team this season to accomplish that feat.
Martin had nine kills for the Penn offense, while Junior Megan Tryon added 30 assists and six digs. Penn's 23 wins is the third highest total in school history and the most since 1985.
Head Coach Kerry Carr couldn't have felt better about her team's performance, "I'm proud of the way we executed our game plan, making Penn State get a little bit uncomfortable and I'm proud of everything these ladies did in approaching this whole season, especially the tough matches like this one. The played with confidence, they were positive and most of all they have a total team attitude. I think that's what you guys got to see out on the floor tonight. There was team chemistry that was second to none.
Penn's performance also impressed Penn State head coach Russ Rose "They [Penn] were doing what you'd expect a team to do in a situation where they have nothing to lose. They played hard, they kept their heads up and I respect that and admire it."
With her 11 kills, senior Elizabeth Semmens set the school's record for kills in a season with 421. She broke the record of 419, set in 1992 by Kate Cooley.