MILLTOWN — Saint Mark’s volleyball team turned to the power game on Nov. 12 in a 3-0 sweep of Ursuline. The Spartans cadre of big hitters, led by sophomore Julia Yurkovich, was too much for the Raiders to overcome. Set scores were 25-116, 25-20, and 25-12.
The attack began with the opening serve. Before the crowd had settled into its socially distanced seats, the Spartans had taken a 7-2 lead courtesy of a Sam Gerhart ace. Avery Brown got a point back for Ursuline on a cross-court winner, and that began a stretch of five points of the next six, with an ace from Kaitlin Burns bringing the Raiders to within one at 8-7.
Brooke Dow scored on a push a few rallies later, starting a run of seven straight for the hosts and bringing out the excitement in their small student cheering section, which was on hand for the first time this year. The run included two Nicole Dimiris blocks, along with a block and kill from Sarah Hessler. Yurkovich ended the set with a blast from the outside position.
Yurkovich and Brown traded bombs early on in the second set, which was competitive throughout. With the Spartans up, 12-11, Saint Mark’s ran off four straight, capped by a Mya Lewis block. But the Raiders pulled to within three on three occasions, the last at 19-16 after a Hannah Kelley kill. But consecutive kills from Yurkovich, Dimiris and Brooke Dow extended the lead once more. Kyla Dow wrapped up set two with a roll shot.
During the second set, Spartans setter Katie Sonchen notched her 1,000th career assist. She was honored on the court briefly, then got back to the huddle.
Saint Mark’s continued its aggressive play into the third. They pulled away with an 11-point run that put them ahead, 17-5, with Gerhart on the serve. Dimiris sent it to match point with a kill, and a Kyla Dow swing went off the Raiders’ wall and landed out of bounds for the win.
Yurkovich led a balanced attack with 11 kills. Lewis had eight, and Kyla Dow added seven. Kyla Dow had nine digs, and Dimiris had a team-high four of the Spartans’ 12 blocks. Saint Mark’s (8-0) travels to St. Elizabeth on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
Ursuline’s statistics were not available late Thursday night. The Raiders (3-4) will play their third match this week Friday night at 6:15 at Archmere.
All photos by Mike Lang.