MILLTOWN — Saint Mark’s and Wilmington Friends both entered their highly anticipated volleyball match on Nov. 3 with 4-0 records, so a close match was expected. The Spartans and Quakers delivered, going the maximum five sets, three of which needed extra points, in a 3-2 Saint Mark’s win.
The set scores were 24-26, 25-21, 28-26, 25-21, and 19-17. It was as exhausting as it looks.
The fifth set opened similar to much of the rest of the match. The teams were tied at each point through 4-4 before Sam Gerhart delivered an ace for Saint Mark’s, followed by a straight-down kill for Mya Lewis put them ahead, 6-4. Julia Yurkovich then drilled a kill to extend the lead another point, but the Quakers responded. They regained serve and shaved a point off the deficit when a Spartans block went out of bounds. Saint Mark’s committed a hitting error.
Yurkovich stepped up again with a kill, prompting a Friends timeout. Kayla Farley scored from the back line for the Quakers, making it 9-7 Spartans, but and Yurkovich and Friends’ Abigail Carian traded kills for a 10-8 Spartans lead. With the score 10-9, the Spartans went on a run that threatened to end the match.
Brooke Dow sent a sharp winner over the net. Yurkovich earned a service winner, the Quakers were called for a violation, and Caroline Detrick smacked one off the wall to send it to match point.
The Quakers bounced back, scoring the next six point. The run included two more smashes for Carian and a pair of blocks for Camille DeBeary.
The set was tied at 15, 16 and 17 before the Spartans squeaked out the win. A Quakers attack was long to go to match point one more time, and Gerhart ended the marathon with an ace.
That first four sets progressed in much the same manor. The biggest lead of the evening belonged to the Spartans in the second set, when they turned an 11-11 tie into a 19-12 lead. They were forced to hang on for the four-point win. The night was marked by outstanding defense – Jocelyn Nathan stood out for the Quakers, while Kyla Dow was stellar for the Spartans – and powerful offense, with Carian and Brooke Dow leading the Quakers and Spartans, respectively.
Carian led the Quakers with 30 kills and 21 digs, while Kayla Farley had 26 kills and Reena Robinson 13. Jocelyn Nathan led Friends with 27 digs. The Quakers (4-1) are home against Wilmington Christian next Tuesday at 4 p.m.
For the Spartans, Yurkovich finished with 18 kills, followed by Brooke Dow with 15. Kyla Dow and Katie Sonchen each had 17 digs, and Nicole Dimiris had seven blocks. Saint Mark’s (5-0) visits Archmere on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.