PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The University of Pennsylvania forced the match to a fifth set, but the Towson University volleyball team was able to hold off the Quakers for a 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers (14-3) extended their win streak to a season-long seven matches with the victory.
"As a team we struggled throughout the majority of the match," said Towson coach Bruce Atkinson. "Marta Machos and I'ishah Keliikoa came up big for us offensively tonight and Paige Sekerak did a nice job keeping balls off the floor."
Penn (5-7) took an early lead in the first set and extended its advantage to 18-11 on a pair of attack errors by the Tigers. A pair of kills from Elizabeth Horner increased the Quakers’ lead to 20-15. The Tigers pulled to within 22-21 on a kill from senior Aubrey Kirven. However, that was the last point of the set by the Tigers as Penn scored three straight points for the 25-21 set win.
Penn led 13-11 in the second set following a Quaker block. The two squads battled through seven ties and found themselves tied at 23-23. The Tigers used a block and a kill from senior Alysha McCreary to secure the 25-23 set win, which tied the match at 1-1. In the third set with the score tied at 8-8, the Tigers used a 7-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. Towson extended its advantage to 22-11 on a service ace from . Towson took a 2-1 lead in the match as a service error from the Quakers gave Towson a 25-15 win in the set.
Towson trailed 16-8 in the fourth set before battling back to tie the set on back-to-back service aces from Machos. Penn battled back to take a 20-17 lead on a service error by the Tigers. Penn eventually won the fourth set, 25-20 on a kill from Horner.
The Tigers came out hot in the fifth set and opened up a 7-2 lead on a kill from Keliikoa. Towson increased its lead to 12-5 on a kill from junior Katy Buck. The Tigers used a service ace from to seal the 15-6 win in the fifth set and secured victory in the match.
Machos led the Tigers with a career-high 17 kills in the contest. Machos hit .652 with just two hitting errors in 23 attempts, she also contributed four service aces, four digs and two block assists. Keliikoa continued her hot hitting, finishing with a .750 hitting percentage and 13 kills. Buck contributed 12 kills, six digs and six block assists while McCreary posted 10 kills and nine block assists. Sekerak had a season-high 26 digs while freshman Kelsey Polak came off the bench to contribute 32 assists and four block assists. As a team, the Tigers had a season-high 12 blocks in the match.
Penn was led by Alexis Genske who finished with a “double-double” on 12 kills and 13 digs.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Sept. 28 when they host Georgia State in the Towson Center at 7 p.m.