For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Padua, the third-ranked volleyball team in Delaware, held off Tower Hill for a hard-fought five-set victory Thursday afternoon.
The Pandas started fast, winning the first set, 25-17, behind the hitting of sophomore Emily Jarome and junior Lauren Mellor. Senior Megan Barnett kept the momentum into the second set, as she recorded four aces and the Pandas raced to a 5-0 lead. A big smash by Jarome extended the lead to 10-4. The eighth-ranked Hillers responded behind strong kills from freshman Maddie Sachs and took the set, 25-23.
After Padua won the third set, 25-17, Tower Hill exploded in the fourth, sprinting to a 14-4 lead. A fifth set seemed like a certainty. But Padua stormed back, scoring 14 of the next 17 points to claim an 18-17 lead. The teams traded points, and the Hillers fought off two match points. Sophomore Abby Carpenter brought the set to an end with a kill, and Tower Hill had a 29-27 win.
In the fifth, Padua sophomore Wei-Ling Moloy had two early blocks to give the Pandas the lead, and the score was 10-9 Padua when Tower was called for a critical out-of-rotation penalty. Padua finished the set on a 5-1 run, with Mellor ending it with a kill.
Jarome led the Pandas with 22 kills and 15 digs, while Mellor added 19 kills and 20 digs. Padua (7-2) is off until next Thursday when they host Unionville at 6:45 p.mm. Sachs paced the Hillers with 16 kills and 14 digs. Tower Hill (4-3) travel to Friends on Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. match.