WILMINGTON — Padua built a two-set lead at Delaware Military Academy on the night of Nov. 5, watched the Seahawks rally to take the third, then emerged in a tight fourth set for the 3-1 volleyball victory. Set scores were 26-24, 25-18, 22-25, and 25-22.
Delaware Military celebrated its six seniors before the match, and the momentum continued into the first set. The Pandas’ biggest lead was just three points, 9-6, which came on a Mandy Quinn ace, and again at 13-10 and 14-11. At that point, the Seahawks scored four straight, taking the lead on a Meghan Davenport ace.
With the score knotted at 17, DMA went on a 7-1 run to sent it to set point. A service error made it 24-19 and returned the serve to the Pandas. With Peyton Sullivan behind the line, Padua began its climb back. The next seven points went like this: DMA hitting error, Morgan Bond kill, Mackenzie Sobczyk block, Audrey Lyons back-line kill, net violation, Sullivan ace and a blast of an overpass by Sobczyk for the win.
The teams traded small leads early on in the second set. Riley Sullivan, one of the seniors, stood out, scored four of the Seahawks’ first eight points on blistering kills. The Pandas trailed, 12-9, before a stretch where they score seven straight and nine out of 10. Sobczyk picked up three kills during that time, and Madison Wilhelm scored the final point with an off-balance swing. Sullivan accounted for two of Padua’s final three points with kills before a hitting error ended it.
Sullivan’s fingerprints were all over the third set, as she scored with hits of every type. Many of those points were made possible by a stellar defense, led by libero Kaylee Longueira, who covered all sorts of real estate while fending off Pandas attacks. On one point in particular, Longueira made three sensational saves before Sullivan sent the ball to the floor on the Padua side to give DMA a 15-13 lead.
But Padua stuck around, and the set was tied as late as 22-22 on another Sobczyk blast. Davenport put the Seahawks back in front with a kill, and a Pandas error sent it to match point. Sullivan, fittingly, ended it when she stuffed an overpass.
The tight play continued into the fourth, with the teams knotted at points one through five. DMA took its biggest lead of the final set at 9-6 when Addie Miller sent a kill off the end line, and again at 11-8. Sullivan, Sobczyk and Lyons erased that deficit, however, with the final point of that short streak being an ace off the tape.
Davenport brought DMA to within one at 23-22 in the final stages of the match, but two hitting errors brought the evening to an end.
Sobczyk continued her strong play this season with 21 kills and 11 digs. Meghan Peters had nine kills. Colleen McClintock had 38 digs, while Sullivan had 22. The Pandas (5-1) are home against St. Elizabeth on Monday at 6 p.m.
For the Seahawks, Sullivan led with 17 kills, four blocks and 23 digs. Longueira had 45 digs. DMA (3-3) remains at home for a match against Ursuline on Saturday at 3 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.