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Mengers, Auks rally by Friends in key volleyball matchup

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Dialog reporter

 

ALAPOCAS – Sami Mengers had 11 kills and 17 digs to lead Archmere Academy to a 3-1 win over Wilmington Friends School in nonconference volleyball action Tuesday afternoon. It was the first of seven matches the Auks will play over the final 14 days of the regular season, and they picked up a key win over a quality opponent.

The scores were 25-22, 25-20, 23-25 and 25-23, four well-played games that featured a number of lengthy rallies and outstanding defense.

Archmere wore pink for its "Dig Pink" match at Wilmington Friends on Tuesday. Here, two Auks go up for a block in what would become a four-set win. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)
Archmere wore pink for its “Dig Pink” match at Wilmington Friends on Tuesday. Here, two Auks go up for a block in what would become a four-set win. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Archmere (6-3) took the first two games before Friends eked out a win in game three. Archmere seemed to right the ship in the fourth set, going ahead 15-8 with a  four-point rally before Friends called a timeout. Whatever Quakers coach Barb Fitzgerald said in the huddle worked wonders, as her team stormed back. The Quakers answered with four consecutive of their own, but the Auks calmed things down and took a 17-14 lead before Friends streaked again.

An attempted kill by Archmere went long to close the gap to two. Friends’ Maya Johnson and Cassidy Martin sandwiched kills around an Auks timeout. Johnson then knocked an Archmere overset to the floor, and Martin knocked a serve off the tape for an ace. Suddenly, Friends was in command, 19-17, and a fifth set looked like a possibility. Mengers said Archmere tried to keep their cool during the Friends comeback.

“We just had to get it back together,” she said. “We were all freaking out, but we got it back, so we did good.”

Another kill by Martin gave Friends a 20-18 advantage, but after Archmere picked up another point on an unforced error, the Auks began their final run with Tori Mock on the serve. Emily Dentinger tied the set at 20 with a kill, then Maddie Guido scored on a kill. Mengers picked up a point with a back-line kill that deflected off a Quaker.

Friends tied the score at 22, but Christina Defelice regained the lead for Archmere when she smacked an overset to the floor. Dentinger gave the Auks match point with the last of her eight kills, and Guido ended it in style, picking up an ace down the middle of the court.

Mengers said it was gratifying to pick up a win over a quality foe like the Quakers. “We’ve been practicing this week getting ready for this game and only this game. We just clicked. We all worked together.

“It’s great. We’ve been working so hard, and they’re a great team,” she said.

Archmere received balanced offense, as Mengers and Dentinger were supported by Zoe Akoto (seven kills), Guido (six) and Regan Bice (five). On the defensive end, Tori Falasco covered the court to the tune of 33 digs, while Kaylie Leclerc had 18 and Justine Pantaleo 14. The Auks are back in action Thursday at home, when Ursuline visits for a 6:15 p.m. start.

Friends fell to 7-3 and had a four-game winning streak ended. The Quakers got 19 kills from lefty Alexandra Musi and 11 from Martin, while Katrina Skibicki had 30 digs. Martin had 21 digs. The schedule gets no easier for Friends, which welcomes Padua on Thursday for a 5:15 p.m. start.