WILMINGTON – Padua, the fourth-ranked team in the state according to 302Sports.com, used balanced scoring to defeat visiting St. Mark’s, 3-1, on Sept. 18. The set scores in the warm gymnasium were 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, and 25-18.
Jess Molen led the attack with 17 kills, but she had plenty of help. Mackenzie Sobczyk, Michelle Kozicki, Grace Palaypay and Jackie Barnett combined for 25 more kills.
It started in the first set, as Molen and Kozicki kept the Pandas within striking distance. The second-ranked Spartans took a 10-8 lead on a kill by junior Savannah Seemans, and another increased the advantage to 13-10. The tide changed after that as Padua started a 15-6 run to close out the set. Barnett finished the frame with a nice kill to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Pandas received solid defense in the second set, as Molen and libero Sarah Pritchard had impressive diving digs. Kozicki and Sobczyk added a few blocks, and a Palaypay kill made it 18-13. Sobczyk ended that set with a kill.
The Spartans got their offense going in the third set behind Seemas and Abbie Thibodeau. Caroline Detrick added two big kills late in the third to make it 19-18 for St. Mark’s. The Spartans reached set point at 24-21, but the Pandas clawed back to within a point on a Molen kill. Detrick, however, gave the Spartans the set with another kill.
Padua pulled away in the fourth. Katie Ham delivered an ace late to make the score 22-17, and Kozicki sent the Pandas faithful home happy with a kill.
Molen added 20 digs to go with her kills, while Pritchard had 10 digs. The Pandas (3-0) host No. 5 Wilmington Charter on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.