Home Local Sports Archmere Academy defends home court in 3-1 volleyball victory over Padua Academy:...

Archmere Academy defends home court in 3-1 volleyball victory over Padua Academy: Photo gallery

The Auks Ceci Connolly (25) and Katie Kuehl prepare for an incoming shot as Bridget Malloy looks on. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

CLAYMONT — Archmere faced an obstacle after dropping the first set on Sept. 14 when the Padua volleyball team visited Mogila Fieldhouse, but the Auks rebounded to win the next three sets and the match. Set scores were 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, and 25-20.

Padua led the first set wire to wire. The Pandas’ biggest lead was six points, the last time at 20-14 following a kill from Aanya Yatavelli. Ally Lang ended the set with an ace.

The second set was tied at 11-11 before the Auks created some separation. An ace from Ceci Connolly and a block by Daphne Addo put the Auks ahead, 14-11, part of a 10-3 Archmere stretch. Connolly went straight down with an attack to close it out.

Big hitting was on display in the third set. Katie Kuehl of the Auks and Kaitlyn Leberstien of Padua took turns pounding points as the teams battled in front of a near-capacity crowd that included a large group of Archmere students. The Auks were ahead, 21-13, but the Pandas responded. An ace from Avery Pilger was in the middle of a 5-0 run as the Pandas climbed back. They closed to within a point on a kill from Eva Stimmel and held off one set point, but the Auks took the set.

After five ties in the early stages of the fourth, the Auks scored three straight, the last a smash by Connolly, to forge an 11-8 lead. But the Pandas rebounded once more, taking a 14-12 lead during a stretch that included an ace from Caroline Buggy. Add, however, sparked the Auks with a big block and an ace from Ella Strohmaier restored the Auks’ lead at 15-14.

The fourth was tied at 19 when the Auks went on a 4-0 run that included another ace, this one from Abigail Im, and a dink from Kuehl. Yatavelli scored for the Pandas, but Kuhel crushed one, and, after a timeout at match point, a Connolly swing was blocked and went out of bounds to end the match.

Final statistics were not available for the Auks, who improved to 2-1. They hit the road to face St. Elizabeth on Sept. 19 at 6 p.m.

For the Pandas, Yatavelli led the way with eight kills. Four players — Leberstien, Vanessa Mancini, Pilger and Hannah McGuigan — each had four kills. Padua (1-2) hosts Saint Mark’s on Sept. 19 at 7:15 p.m.

All photos by Jason Winchell.