CLAYMONT – Archmere had watched Red Lion’s volleyball team turn an eight-point deficit into a win in the third set of the team’s match on Sept. 29, and the Auks may have had a sense of deja vu when the Lions headed down the same path with a three-point run midway through the fourth. This time, however, the Auks clamped down, scoring 12 of the final 15 points for a 3-1 Diamond State Athletic Conference win on homecoming weekend.
The set scores were 25-22, 25-13, 25-27, 25-11. Archmere improved to 5-2 and handed the Lions their first loss after seven wins to open the season.
Red Lion had some momentum following its third-set win, and the team hung with the Auks early in the final set. A four-point run by Archmere, punctuated by a Hannah Wright ace, put some distance between the teams, and after a kill by the Lions’ Mollie Betters, the Auks scored four more for a 13-5 lead.
The Lions then ripped off three straight, but Archmere snuffed any thoughts of having this one go to a fifth set. During the closing stretch of the match, Nicki Kelly scored on consecutive aces, and after Archmere had lost and regained the serve, Theresa Chua came in to serve out the final seven points of the match. She delivered three aces during that stretch, including the two points before Lexi Kelly ended things with her eighth and final kill.
In the first set, Archmere showcased its multiple weapons, including the Kelly twins, Julia Kochie and Lauren Edmiston. The Auks held a 17-10 lead when the Lions made their move. Alexee Gray smashed one down the middle, then followed with a cross-court winner. They were able to close within two at 24-22 on an unforced Archmere error, but Lexi Kelly knocked one off the block to end the first.
The Auks scored nine consecutive points – three coming on aces by Livi Guido – to jump out to a 12-2 advantage in the second set. An ace by Red Lion’s Regan Mendick cut that to 12-5, but the Auks steadily pulled away. Guido added two more aces before the set ended on a Lions error.
A 9-1 run early in set three put the Auks ahead, 15-7, and the large student section on hand could sense a sweep. But Janai Gibson started the improbable comeback with a kill to the corner, and she added several more points as the match wore on. A seven-point run by the Lions pushed them into the lead at 19-16. That stretch included a kill and two aces by Gray, along with another Betters kill.
They maintained the small advantage until Archmere tied it up at 23. The teams were knotted at 24 and 25 as well. Gibson scored on a block, and Mendick won it with a tip over the Auks’ front line.
Lexi Kelly led the Auks in kills. Kochie added six, and Nicki Kelly and Jade Bryant each had five. Hannah Wright paced the team with 21 digs, and the Auks served up 21 aces, six by Guido. Archmere returns to the court Monday at 5:15 p.m. at MOT Charter, then faces top-ranked Tower Hill on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m.
For Red Lion, Gibson had 10 kills, Betters eight. Morgan Mendick turned in a fine defensive performance with 26 digs. Tower Hill is the Lions’ next opponent, Monday at 5:!5 p.m. at Red Lion.