WILMINGTON — Ursuline’s volleyball team sprinted to an early nine-point advantage in the first set of its Nov. 7 matinee at Delaware Military Academy, but the Seahawks quickly gained control and never gave it up. DMA won the match in a sweep by scores of 25-18, 25-16, and 28-26.
Facing the big deficit, the Seahawks turned to Kaylee Longueira on the serve, and she delivered. She put up a trio of aces during a 7-0 run that got her team back into the set and juiced up the home crowd in the Fusco Athletic Center. The Raiders recovered and established a 15-12 lead on back-to-back unforced DMA errors, but a four-point run that featured two more aces, these from Riley Sullivan, put the Seahawks on top for the first time at 16-15. The Seahawks closed the first set by scoring the final six points.
The momentum continued into the second set. Delaney Schultz got Delaware Military off to a promising start with consecutive aces, and the Seahawks scored once more before Faith Kleitz blasted a kill to get the Raiders on the board. DMA built a five-point cushion before Ursuline fought back. Hannah Kelley knocked one down, and after a hitting error, Kleitz went down the left side, then into the Seahawks’ wall to cut the DMA lead to 10-9.
Again, the hosts rebounded, blanketing the floor to defend the Ursuline attack and continuing their offensive assault. In scoring eight of the next nine points, DMA got a kill and block from Lillian Wenzel and three more aces, the last one from Ashley Ludlem. Sullivan sent it to set point with another ace, and after the Raiders saved two set points, Sullivan scored on a kill.
The final set was close throughout. Ursuline took an early 5-4 lead on a hitting error, and after watching the Seahawks go back up by three, the Raiders fought back. Kleitz was steady throughout, helping her team pull even with a pair of kills. DMA managed to keep a small lead into the late stages of the third, but the Raiders would not go away.
They trailed, 21-17, before climbing back into the set. Fiona McGlinchey swung for a point, and the Seahawks committed a hitting error. After a timeout, Ursuline got to within a point at 23-22 when Kelley found the floor, and they pulled into a tie after another error. Kelley saved a match point with a bomb, and the Raiders earned a set point of their own on a DMA hitting error.
The teams were deadlocked at 26 after Ursuline fought off another match point, but a Morgan Giofre kill, followed by an unforced Raiders error, ended the match, much to the delight of the crowd inside the dome.
Sullivan led the Seahawks with 15 kills and added 18 digs. Longueira had 27 digs, and Wenzel added 12 kills. The Seahawks were credited with 13 aces. DMA (4-3) remains home to meet First State Military on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
For the Raiders (3-2), Kleitz had nine kills, with Avery Brown contributing seven. Heyli Velasquez had 24 digs. Ursuline hosts Newark Charter on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.