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Raiders overcome slow start to defeat Force


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON – Second-ranked Ursuline shrugged off a subpar first set to defeat No. 5 Wilmington Charter, 3-1, on Oct. 19. The set scores were 11-25, 25-17, 25-12 and 25-16.

Taylor Wright of Ursuline sends a shot toward the Charter block, which includes Danielle Waltz (14). (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

The Force steamrolled to an early lead, scoring the first six points behind Maddie Matheny, who had three early kills. The Force kept the momentum up in the first set, going on a 9-2 run to lead 15-2. Abby Rzucidio had a few aces for the Raiders, but they were still trailing, 23-10. Matheny hammered home set point on a thunderous kill to give the home team the first set.

The Raiders’ defense picked up in the second set, and the offense joined in. Taylor Wright, Corinne Furey, Cassidy Markel and Rzucidio all started to find holes in the Force defense to help Ursuline grab a 15-12 lead. Wright then extended the lead to 17-13 on back-to-back kills, and she served up an ace to make it 23-16.

The teams traded early points in the third set, but the momentum changed on a Force kill that was initially ruled in but was overturned to the correct call of being long. The Raiders scored the next five points, two of them aces by Wright, to grab a 9-5 lead. After a kill by Matheny cut it to 11-9, the Raiders went on a 14-3 run that ended with a Rzucidlo ace to give the Raiders a set lead.

Sam Davis goes down for the dig for the Raiders. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)

Rzucidio had a strong fourth set as she had a few early kills to put the Raiders ahead, 5-4. Furey and Wright then paved the way on offense while Sam and Sydney Davis provided the spectacular defense to give increase the advantage to 15-9. The Raiders pulled away, and Kylie Nocket ended the match with a tremendous kill.

Ursuline (11-1) had a balanced offense all night as Furey had 13 kills, while Wright had 12. Wright added five aces, tying Rzucidlo for team-high honors. The Davis sisters combined for 27 digs. The Raiders host Archmere on Tuesday night at 7:15. The Force (8-4), whose statistics were not available late Thursday night, travel to Friends on Monday for a 5:15 start.

The Raiders’ Abby Rzucidlo looks for a block against all-state hitter Maddie Matheny of Charter. (The Dialog/Jason Winchell)