WILMINGTON — Salesianum’s height and depth continues to be a force in Delaware boys volleyball. The Sals’ formidable front line was on its game on May 16, leading a sweep of visiting Conrad in a DIAA tournament quarterfinal at Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium.
Salesianum, the top seed among the 16 in the bracket, took the first set from the No. 8 Red Wolves, 25-16. They jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the second before Reid Maas smashed a ball straight down, and a hitting error on the Red Wolves made it 10-3, prompting a timeout. The Sals scored three more after the break, the last on another kill by Maas, before a hitting error brought the run to an end.
Later in the second, Anthony Molitor sent an attack off a Red Wolves defender and out of bounds to stretch the lead to 10. Both teams played some good defense, with Conrad’s Joseph Zullo and the Sals’ Cody Popp scoring on blocks as the set progressed. Sallies also had some good fortune, as a ball that was mishit by Andrew Mahoney fell to the floor.
Christian Sullivan sent it to set point with a kill off the side of his hand, and Colin McLaughlin closed it out with his lone block of the evening.
The Sals began the final set up, 8-2, but the Red Wolves fought back to get within four at 10-6. Popp helped them open that lead a bit with some kills, one on a big hit off the Conrad block, another on a redirected set. A few points later, he blasted a shot down the right side, nearly bringing the Salesianum School dog, Louie, out of his slumber, as the lead jumped to 19-9.
Sullivan followed with a kill, and John Peters added an ace. At match point, the Red Wolves saved twice before a Sullivan offering bounced off a Conrad front-liner and out of bounds for the win.
Sullivan led the Sals with 10 kills. Mahoney added seven, and Maas had six. Ronan Landis led the way with 13 assists, while Popp had 12. The Sals (16-0) will host No. 4 Delaware Military Academy in one semifinal on Thursday at 6 p.m. The second semifinal will feature No. 3 Wilmington Charter at No. 2 Cape Henlopen.
Gregory Amore led the Red Wolves with four kills, and Gabriel Welsh had 13 digs. Conrad finished the season 10-7.
All photos by Mike Lang.