and Jason Winchell
Padua is looking to regain the title it held for the two seasons before falling to Wilmington Charter in a hard-fought five-set match last season in the semifinal round. Like eventual champion Archmere, the Pandas were hit hard by graduation, as six seniors bid adieu. But coach Lauren DiSabatino knows no one is feeling bad for her team, which brings back many quality players.
“We have, obviously, Emily Jarome coming back,” she said. “We’ve moved Lauren Mellor to the outside. She’ll be a big contributor this year. Maddie Judge has taken over our libero spot, and she’s going to be someone that people are going to be watching.”
Jarome burst on to the high school scene last season with 227 kills as a freshman. Mellor offers a well-rounded game, with 85 kills and 108 digs. Judge also had 108 digs, and senior Megan Barnett contributed 118 digs and 40 service aces.
“We’ve switched around people, but everybody’s handling it well, and everybody’s stepping up to the occasion, having to play different positions and everything,” Jarome said.
Both Jarome and DiSabatino are looking forward to another successful campaign. The Pandas were 12-3 last season.
Added Jarome: “Since we are such a new team, you don’t know how it’s going to go, but I’m very optimistic for our outcome.”
Padua will be tested throughout the season as the schedule includes many of the state’s top teams. A big game of note will take place on Oct. 1 when DMA visits Broom Street. If there is any solace for the Pandas, however, six of the first eight matches will be at home.
Friday, Sept. 11: Concord, 6:45 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 18: Wilmington Friends, 6:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 22: at St. Mark’s, 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 25: Ursuline, 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 26: Paul VI (Va.), 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 29: at Newark Charter, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Delaware Military, 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3: St. Elizabeth, 1:15 p.m. (Homecoming)
Thursday, Oct. 8: at Tower Hill, 5:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 9: at Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.), 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 15: Unionville (Pa.), 6:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 20: at St. Elizabeth, 7:15 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 23: at Archmere, 6:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27: St. Mark’s, 6:45 p.,m, (Senior Night)
Thursday, Oct. 29: at Ursuline, 7:15 p.m.