WILMINGTON — Padua improved to 6-1 on the volleyball season with a sweep of St. Elizabeth on Nov. 9. The Pandas picked up their fourth straight win by scores of 25-9, 25-18, and 25-13.
The visiting Vikings had an early 4-2 lead in the opening set before the Pandas took control with a 14-1 run. The Pandas’ height up front caused issues for St. Elizabeth, although the Vikings were able to save two set points before Aanya Yatavelli, the only freshman on the Pandas’ roster, smack a kill off the tape to end the set.
Audrey Lyons served up an ace off the back line to start the second for Padua, the beginning of a six-point run to begin the set. After Madison Wilhelm blocked a kill attempt for the 6-0 lead, the Vikings called a timeout. The set was much more competitive after the pep talk from coach Jerry McCarthy.
Trailing, 9-2, the Vikings got three points back on a service error, a backhand kill from Diamond Wilson and an overpass stuff by Tori Harlam. Padua re-established a seven-point advantage but could not pull away as they had in the first. Led by Wilson’s attack up front, the Vikings cut it to five points on three occasions, but Mackenzie Sobczyk got two of those back with kills, and Mary Mancini knocked one down the third time. Her kill sent it to set point, and a hitting error ended it.
The Pandas opened the final set with the first five points. They scored twice before a long rally ended in a point for Padua, but a smash from Wilson cut it to 6-3 Pandas, and they scored once more on a hitting error. The Vikings cut the lead to 9-8 a short time later on a block from Wilson and a Mia Williams ace, and they tied it at 10 on a Pandas hitting error.
An unforced error for the Vikings began the run that put the Pandas in control. Sobczyk went off the tape for a kill, and another error, followed by an ace from Kira Hearn, made it 14-10. Padua added five more before the Vikings could stop the bleeding, and Meghan Wilhelm ended it with a punch the resulted in a kill.
Final statistics for the Vikings were not available Tuesday morning. They are now 2-5 and visit Archmere Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.
For Padua, Sobczyk had 11 kills, and Olivia Staats added eight. The team had 11 blocks, led by Madison Wilhelm with four. Padua (6-1) is off until Nov. 17, when Archmere comes to Wilmington for a 7 p.m. start.
All photos by Mike Lang.