NEWARK – As the scholastic volleyball regular season heads into its final two weeks, the title contenders are looking to iron out the wrinkles and gain more experience. But in doing so, teams must not overlook a less formidable opponent.
That’s the situation Padua Academy found itself in Friday afternoon as the Pandas traveled to meet Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association newcomer Newark Charter School. The Patriots have quietly put together a successful season facing mostly smaller schools, with a roster consisting of sophomores, with three freshmen and an eighth-grader also.
Padua took care of business, defeating the Patriots in straight sets, by scores of 25-14, 25-13 and 25-12. With the win, the Pandas are now 8-3.
After winning game one, Padua took a 6-2 lead after a block by senior Vanessa Crumety. Newark Charter got back within two at 6-4, but a six-point run with junior Lauren Mellor holding serve gave Padua a commanding lead. Mellor’s run included two aces; junior Megan Barnett delivered two consecutive later in the set. Padua was credited with 12 for the match. The Pandas also had numerous service winners.
Padua freshman outside hitter Emily Jarome began the third set with a kill that may have left a dent in the gymnasium floor, one of her match-leading 12 on the day. Behind Padua’s superior service game, height up front and experience, the Pandas found themselves up early by a significant margin. Coach Lauren DiSabatino, who normally runs a pretty deep rotation of players, took the opportunity to find time for every girl on the roster.
Sophomore Gabriella Welsh scored on a kill, followed by a block to give Padua a 23-9 lead in the third, but Newark Charter’s Abigail Carbajal – the eighth-grader – responded with consecutive aces. The Patriots’ good fortune ended after that.
Senior Stephanie Annone added eight kills for Padua, while classmate Sarah Wiley led the way with eight digs. The Pandas return home on Tuesday for a match against Caravel at 6:45 p.m.
No statistics were available for Newark Charter, which is now 9-4. The Patriots are off until Oct. 18, when they travel to Magnolia to meet St. Thomas More Academy in an 11 a.m. start.