Home Local Sports Saint Mark’s volleyball ends eight-year drought at Padua with 3-1 victory

Saint Mark’s volleyball ends eight-year drought at Padua with 3-1 victory

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Brooke Dow prepares to send the ball over the net during the Spartans' match at Padua. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s volleyball team traveled to Padua on Oct. 29 with a 3-0 record and a tall task in front of them to maintain that perfect mark. The Spartans used their height to great advantage, disrupting the Pandas’ attack on the way to a 3-1 win. Set scores were 25-16, 28-26, 21-25, and 25-17.

It was Saint Mark’s first win at Padua in more than eight years. They managed a five-set squeaker on Oct. 11, 2012, when current assistant coach Peyton Reno was a junior.

The Spartans took early control in the first set, scoring five straight to establish an 8-3 lead. Mya Lewis got the run started with a cross-court smash, then she scored on a block. She and Kyla Burns added another block before the Pandas called a timeout and ended the run.

Peyton Sullivan of Padua looks for a hole between two Saint Mark’s defenders. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

If the front line didn’t get to a shot, libero Sam Gerhart and Katie Sonchen were normally in position to back them up. The Pandas could not get any closer than seven points the rest of the way, and a hitting error ended the set.

The Pandas and Spartans needed extra points to get through the second set, although early on, a different Padua team was on the floor. They jumped out to a 9-2 lead, thanks to the big hits from players such as Mackenzie Sobczyk and Madison Wilhelm, but there was a lot of set remaining.

Saint Mark’s was down, 10-3, when Lewis began the comeback with an ace. Seven points later, she tied the score with another ace. Sobczyk stopped the bleeding with a tip over the Spartans’ wall, and the rest of the set was close. The Spartans had a 21-18 lead, and an ace had them within two points of a win at 23-21. Wilhelm blasted a shot down the middle, and an unforced error tied it, but Lewis sent it to set point with a kill. Meghan Wilhelm went down the right side to tie it at 24, and it was knotted again at 25 and 26. Lewis had a service winner, and after a great dig by Padua’s Colleen McClintock off a Julia Yurkovich bomb, a hitting error lifted the Spartans to the win.

Padua cleaned up the errors and the teams battled kill for kill throughout the set. A Yurkovich kill puts the Spartans up, 10-7, but this time Padua would make the comeback. Kira Hearn tied the set at 10 with an ace. The Pandas scored three straight late in the set, including a kill from Olivia Staats, putting them ahead, 22-17. The Spartans cut a few points off the lead before Madison Wilhelm threw down consecutive kills to send it to set point. Peyton Sullivan ended the third with a kill.

The Spartans opened with a 4-0 lead in the fourth, but after Padua responded to pull within one at 6-5, Saint Mark’s scored five of the next six to force a Pandas timeout. A block by Caroline Detrick gave the Spartans a 13-6 lead as the frontline defense asserted itself. Yurkovich pounded a ball straight down a minute later to extend the lead to 15-6.

There would be no big comeback this time. Lewis sent it to match point with a shot off a Panda, and after the Pandas saved four match points, Detrick ended the night with her final kill.

Final statistics were not available for the Spartans early Friday morning. Saint Mark’s improved to 4-0 and will host Wilmington Friends on Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.

For the Pandas (2-1), Sobczyk and Madison Wilhelm led the way with nine kills each. Sobczyk added five kills, and McClintock had 22 digs. Next up is Wilmington Charter on Saturday at 2 p.m.

All photos by Mike Lang.