MILLTOWN – St. Mark’s had a 10-5 lead in the third set of its Sept 21 volleyball match against St. Elizabeth when Grace Frati took over on serve for the Spartans. By the time the senior relinquished control, the Spartans had run off 14 consecutive points, and they completed the 3-0 sweep shortly thereafter.
St. Mark’s, ranked fourth in the state by 302Sports.com, was itching to get back into the win column after suffering its first defeat of the season Tuesday against Padua. The set scores vs. St. E’s were 25-16, 25-10 and 25-6, but the Vikings were more competitive than the score would indicate, particularly in the first two sets.
The Vikings were holding close early in the third, coming within three points on three different occasions – on a block by Lexi Lee, a kill by Lee, then a scoring strike from Ardavia Lee off the tape that made the score 8-5. A service error gave the Spartans a four-point advantage and the serve to Frati. St. Mark’s scored points in a variety of ways, including a kill from Gillian Lytle, a few unforced St. Elizabeth errors, and five aces by Frati. She followed her fifth ace with a serve into the net, prompting some good-natured ribbing from the Spartans’ fans.
The Spartans got off to a quick start in the first set behind their powerful front line. Savannah Seemans scored on a smash, and Lytle and Erin Derick followed to make it 9-5. It was 14-11 after a Vikings ace, but St. Mark’s scored five of the next six. The final two points of the set came courtesy of a Derick ace and an unforced error.
The second set featured a few lengthy rallies, with the back lines from both teams coming up big. Katie Husbands kicked off a seven-point Spartans run with a kill, and Derick finished it with a block. The set also included Amanda Tucci’s lone ace and an overpass that Seemans sent straight down.
Frati finished with eight aces, along with a team-high 14 digs. Derick had 15 kills. The Spartans (4-1) host No. 6 Archmere on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.
Statistics for the Vikings were not available late Thursday. St. Elizabeth (2-3) also returns to action Tuesday at 7:!5 p.m. on the road at No. 3 Padua.