WILMINGTON — Mackenzie Sobczyk had 21 kills, and Colleen McClintock led the defense with 31 digs as Padua held off Ursuline, 3-2, in yet another volleyball classic between the rival schools on Oct. 2. The win snapped a regular-season three-match losing streak for the Pandas at the hands of the Raiders.
The teams split the first two sets by identical 25-18 scores. The third set began very similarly to the first two, with both defenses standing out. McClintock and Peyton Sullivan came up with some spectacular digs for the Pandas, while Heyli Velazquez and Maria Kennedy did the honors for the Raiders.
The score went back and forth for much of the beginning of the set. Padua turned a 5-5 tie into a three-point lead on a Raiders violation, a hitting error and a service winner from Mandy Quinn before Faith Kleitz ended the run with a kill. The Raiders climbed back into the set, tying it as late as 12-12 before the Pandas created some separation. Sobczyk put Padua ahead, 15-12 on a block, and the Raiders cut one point off of that before the Pandas pulled away.
Padua outscored the Raiders, 10-4, to close out the set. The winner came on a hitting error by Ursuline, with the Pandas taking a 25-17 win.
The fourth set was tied several times in the early going. The defenses continued to shine, and a Raiders block gave them a two-point lead for the first time at 7-5, and after Padua rallied to tie it at 8, the Raiders’ Kaitlin Burns restored the lead with an ace. Meghan Peters deadlocked the score again with a bomb down the left side.
The Pandas were within two points at 19-17 when Hannah Kelley electrified her teammates with a smash to the left side. Kleitz added a tip kill, and a few minutes later, the Raiders tied the match on an unforced error on the Pandas.
The Raiders took a 3-1 lead in the fifth, but the Pandas had just played a fifth set in their previous match. They climbed back into it, knotting the score at 4 when Sobczyk crushed one into the Raiders’ end. Peyton Sullivan gave Padua the lead on an ace. Lyons tipped for a kill, the Pandas’ fourth straight point. The Raiders got it back to level at 8 on a Kaitlin Burns ace.
Madison Wilhelm restored a one-point lead for the Pandas, the beginning of a four-point run. Sullivan sent it to match point when she crushed one down the left side, and Sobczyk punished the next point down the right side to end it.
Wilhelm had seven kills and Sullivan six for the Pandas, who are now 4-1. They are in action again on Thursday night at 6:30 at Delaware Military Academy.
Brown paced the Raiders with 18 kills, with Kleitz contributing 17 and Kelley nine. Valesquez led with 24 digs, many of the acrobatic variety. Ursuline (2-1) travels to Wilmington Charter on Thursday at 3:45 p.m.