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Powerful Pandas sweep Auks in top-six volleyball battle


Dialog reporter


CLAYMONT – A near-sellout crowd turned out at Moglia Fieldhouse on Oct. 20 to see top-ranked Padua take on No. 6 Archmere, and the visiting Pandas silenced the Auks’ faithful with a 3-0 sweep. Set scores were 25-14, 25-18, 25-18.

Archmere came out hot early, taking a 5-2 lead in the first. But the Pandas used contributions from their deep roster to take control. Jess Molen was scoring with regularity on kills, and she added a few aces, and Michelle Kozicki came on to pick up points on a kill and a pair of blocks. Emily Jarome then warmed up, and the defending state player of the year made her presence known over and over and over again as setter Emma Lucey went her way all night.

Padua’s Emily Jarome and Mackenzie Sobczyk (13) attempt to block this kill by Nicki Kelly of Archmere. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Lucey also contributed a few kills, surprising the Auks by going over on the second hit more than once. The Pandas used their height advantage in sending several unreturnable shots straight down, including the set winner by Jarome.

The Pandas picked up where they left off in the second set. They would steadily build a big lead, then take the match on another over-on-two from Lucey.

It was more of the same in the third, although the Auks did their best to keep close. Julia Kochie was particularly effective for the hosts, but Padua had too much firepower on this night. The Auks did save four match points, but Jarome sent a blast off the Auks’ wall and out of bounds for the final point of the night.

Jarome lines up a kill, while the Auks’ Nicki Kelly (24) and Amy Thomson prepare to defend. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Jarome and Molen had 21 and 13 kills, respectively, while Jarome had 17 digs and libero Katelyn McGonigal led the way with 23 often-acrobatic digs. Padua (13-0) begins the last week of the regular season on Tuesday at home against St. Mark’s. Match time is 7 p.m. It’s Senior Night for the Pandas.

Archmere’s statistics were not available late Friday. The Auks fell to 9-4; they travel to Ursuline on Tuesday for a 7:15 p.m. start.

Emma Lucey serves it up for the Pandas. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)