Home Local Sports Salesianum School opens pursuit of DIAA boys volleyball crown with sweep: Photo...

Salesianum School opens pursuit of DIAA boys volleyball crown with sweep: Photo gallery

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Sals libero Aiden Dietrich digs while his teammates get set for the play. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Salesianum’s volleyball team, the top seed in the DIAA state tournament, began its quest for the program’s first state championship with a sweep of No. 16 William Penn on May 14 at Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium. The Sals defeated the Colonials by scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 25-13.

The Sals opened the scoring with a kill by Reid Maas, and the junior was the featured hitter in the early going. But the Colonials hung around, getting to within two at 7-5 on a Sals service error, but the home team scored the next four points to get some breathing room.

Dylan Ortega scored with a left-handed smash off the Penn wall to put the Sals up, 14-7, and the Sals were on their way. William Dandurand served up an ace to send the first to set point, and a net violation on William Penn gave the Sals game one.

Luis Acosta-Rodriguez snuck a kill past the Sals’ defense to put the Colonials on top, 1-0, and they were up, 2-1, when Maas tied the set with a backhand past the Penn block. That started a 7-0 Sals run, with contributions from everyone along the front line. The Sals flashed some defense as well, with Cody Popp and Maas scoring on blocks, before a Christian Sullivan smash put them ahead, 12-5.

William Penn went on a short run, culminating in an ace from Dylan Georges that cut the Salesianum lead to 12-8, but another 7-0 run that ended with a back-line kill from Popp put the Sals in control.

The Sals jumped to an early lead in the third set, but the Colonials stuck close, and two hitting errors on Salesianum brought Penn to within two at 8-6. It was 13-8 Salesianum after Penn’s Nathaniel Brandon slammed a kill straight down, but another run from the hosts put it out of reach.

After Brandon’s kill, Ortega answered with one of his own. The next three points came on kills from Maas, Popp and Colin McLaughlin. After a Colonials miscue, Maas scored on a block, and Aiden Dietrich wrapped up the run with an ace. Penn saved match point twice, but a service error brought the evening to a close.

Maas led the Sals with 10 kills and three blocks. Ortega and Popp each had six kills. Dietrich led the way with 13 digs, and Ronan Landis had 21 assists. The Sals (17-0) will host No. 9 Newark Charter on May 18 at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Tickets will be available at https://gofan.co/app/school/DIAA.

Photos by Mike Lang.