WILMINGTON — Padua took the first two sets from Tower Hill in relatively easy fashion Oct. 9 in nonconference volleyball, but they ended up needing four sets to dispatch of the pesky Hillers. The set scores were 25-15, 25-15, 19-25, and 26-24.
Jess Molen led the Pandas in the first set, both from the front lines and the service stripe. With her serving, the Pandas built up a 13-7 lead, and it would only grow from there. Audrey Lyons added an ace to make it 21-12 later in the set, and the Pandas were playing solid defense against one of Tower’s big hitters, Maddie Sachs.
Mackenzie Sobczyk scored on a kill off a backset to take it to 23-13, and Michelle Kozicki crushed an overpass, sending it to set point. The Hillers fought off two of those, but Kozicki ended the first with a block.
The Pandas scored the first four points of the second set, and with Molen serving, they went on a run that took the score to 16-4. Two of those points were Molen aces. Kyra Caffrey found a hole down the middle to end the Pandas’ run, and Tower Hill went on a bit of a run to cut the deficit to eight at 17-9.
Padua scored the next five points, however, including another block by Kozicki and a dink by Grace Palaypay. The Hillers scored six of the next eight points to make it interesting, and Sachs was at the forefront. With the score 24-11, she picked up kills for consecutive points on massive swings, then got her third straight on a tap. But the Pandas’ lead was just too great.
Tower managed to avoid the shutout with a solid third set, and the fourth was close throughout. Padua, however, managed to prevent a fifth and deciding set with the win in extra points.
Molen led the Pandas (9-1) with 12 kills, three aces and 22 digs. Sobczyk had 11 kills and five blocks, and Kozicki also had five blocks. Padua hosts Academy of Notre Dame (Pa.) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Caffrey had 19 kills for the Hillers, while Sachs added 16. Isabelle Kowal led the way with 17 digs; Sachs contributed 16. The Hillers fell to 5-5 and visit Conrad on Friday at 5 p.m.