CLAYMONT – Red Lion was without its top hitter for a Sept. 21 Diamond State Athletic Conference volleyball match at Archmere, and the Lions scored a combined 16 points in the first two sets. But the visitors were determined not to be an easy sweep for the Auks, who edged Red Lion by the barest of margins in the third set of a 3-0 victory.
Set scores were 25-10, 25-6 and 25-23.
The first two sets were devoid of drama, although there were some noteworthy moments. The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a tip kill by #12, a shot set up by Regan Mendick. It was the 1,000th assist of Mendick’s scholastic career, and the match was stopped briefly as the sophomore was congratulated by the Auks and serenaded by her teammates because it was also her birthday.
The first set was tied, 2-2, when the Auks went on a 12-1 run. Both Hannah Wright and Madeline Fisher delivered a pair of aces during that period. A 7-0 run took the score to 22-5, and Julia Kochie ended the set with an unreturnable spike.
Mackenzie Popp opened the second on serve for the Auks, and before she gave the ball up, Archmere had a 9-0 lead. Popp had two aces in there, and Lauren Edmiston scored three times on kills, two of the crushed variety. Everything the Auks hit in that set found the floor, as Red Lion could get little going. Ava Scarpaci ended the set with a cross-court winner.
A different Red Lion team took the floor for the third set. The Lions took one-point leads on a Morgan Mendick kill after Kochie was blocked, an ace from Autumn Richardson and a tap into the middle from Aniyah Bond. After an Auks hitting error, the Red Lion lead was a pair, 8-6.
Back and forth the set proceeded, with the teams matching each other’s big hits and mistakes. Morgan Mendick led the offense for Red Lion with a number of kills, while the Auks responded with Edmiston, Scarpaci and others. The set was tied 17 times, the last time at 21-21 when Red Lions’ Peyton Pusey sent a left-handed cross to the floor.
The Auks responded by scoring the next three points to build the largest lead of the set. First, a Kochie blast was dug out of bounds. Then Kochie crushed a shot that Regan Mendick could only get a piece of. After a timeout, the Lions committed a hitting error to send it to match point. Red Lion held once thanks to a Pusey kill, and Adora Anthos served up an ace to make it 24-23. Hope Merritt send the home fans home happy with a monster kill that was saved by Morgan Mendick, but the ball fell to the floor out of the reach of the rest of the Lions.
Edmiston led the Auks with nine kills, while Kochie had seven, along with two blocks. The Auks (5-0) visit Saint Mark’s on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
For the Lions, Morgan Mendick had 11 kills, and Pusey added four. Regan Mendick had 10 digs. Red Lion fell to 2-3 and hosts Tower Hill on Tuesday at 6 p.m.