CLAYMONT — Archmere defeated Appoquinimink with little doubt in the first two sets of their volleyball matinee on Oct. 22, but any plans on getting done in the minimum three sets were dashed by the Jaguars. The Auks recovered from that third-set malaise with a strong finish, taking the match, 3-1.
Set scores were 25-14, 25-17, 18-25, and 25-17. The win capped a successful day for Auks athletics. The boys’ soccer team defeated Newark Charter, 1-0, in double overtime while the volleyball team was playing, and the football team shut out Caesar Rodney, 38-0, on the road.
With a 2-0 lead in the match, Archmere opened the third set by scoring the first two points. Appo, however, used a strong defense and pinpoint attacks to take control. The teams were tied five times through 2-2 and 8-8, but by that time the Jags had begun their ascent.
The Auks held an 8-6 lead when London Smith scored on a backhanded tap that found the floor. Four consecutive Auks unforced errors preceded a timeout by Archmere, but when play resumed, Lillian Madeira punctuated an 8-0 run with a kill. Archmere’s Ava Beach finally ended the streak with a tap, but Appo had more weapons ready to disperse.
Much of their success in the third set was the result of sensational defense. Their back line got to virtually everything the Auks could swing at them, and attacker Jaslyn Dawkins kept the pressure on. The set ended when Appo bumped a serve over the net on set point, and it fell to the floor among the Auks.
Two big kills from Gianna Folke helped the Jaguars to a 4-1 advantage to begin the fourth, but a block for the Auks’ Jessica Lattanzi helped turn the tide. The Auks took their first lead of the set at 6-5 on an ace from Abigail Im, and after Appo recaptured the lead, Archmere tied in on an Alanah Weaver kill that began a 4-0 run that put them on track for victory.
Abby Garcia contributed consecutive kills during a five-point run, and the lead continued to grow. It reached double figures points when Ryan Dalton served up an ace, Ella Strohmaier followed with a dump that took the Jaguars by surprise, and Appo committed a line violation. The afternoon came to an end when Katie Kuehl, who had a strong afternoon, slammed a kill down into the floor.
The Auks’ front line was at the forefront of a first-set victory. Beach, Cece Connelly, Kuehl and Lattanzi helped extend a 13-11 lead into an 11-point cushion. Kuehl had two kills, while Beach added another, plus a set-ending block, in a 5-0 run to finish the first.
A Garcia kill was followed by three straight Strohmaier aces to begin the second, although the Jags fought back behind the offense of Madeira and Folke. With the score tied at 15, the Auks scored nine of the next 11 points before Appoquimink saved two set points on unforced errors.
No statistics were available Saturday night. The Auks (10-3) host Tower Hill on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the regular-season home finale. Appoquinimink fell to 7-5 and visits St. Andrew’s on Monday at 6 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.