By D.F. Pendrys
NEW HAVEN, CT – SCSU’s volleyball team came back from being a set down to win the next three on their way to victory over Wilmington at home Sunday afternoon.
Set 1 was a very even contest. The two teams had reached a 13-13 tie, and SCSU had attempted to gain a brief lead, but Wimington tied things back up and took a lead of their own, but the score was soon 20-20. Lillee Olson then tapped the ball over the net and her opponent’s couldn’t return it, but SCSU served out of bounds to tie the game again at 21. Following a great save to keep the ball in play by Heather Pedrick, Jessica Connelly came up with a kill to return Wilmington to the lead, but Olson struck again to tie it back up. Angel Oliver blocked a southern attack and then launched a kill of her own and Wilmington now had a 22-24 advantage and Connelly ended the set with a kill as well.
SCSU responded strongly in the second set as it was only close for a few points. With the score 6-4 Owls, Wilmington served into the net to make it 7-4 and this touched off a run as Erika Benson had a block for another point. On the next back and forth Lily Miller saved a ball to keep it moving and Benson tipped it over. SCSU did commit an attack error, but Kacey Deecher smacked a kill off the D and out of bounds and it was 10-5 and another point came SCSU’s way to raise the lead to 11-5. From this point on Wilmington would get points, but SCSU would not open the door. The set would wrap up as a 25-16 Owls win.
Set 3 seemed more auspicious for Wilmington as the two teams volleyed to a 11-11 tie, but a Wildcat spiked the ball into the net, Benson struck again, and Wilmington contacted the antenna to put SCSU up 14-11. Wilmington averted disaster momentarily and got the score back to 16-14, but Gabriela Vazquez unleashed a huge spike down the line, and Abigail Epstein followed it up with a spike of her own. Two attack errors be Wildcats made it 20-14 and things were dire for Wilmington and looking good for the Owls. Wilmington would manage just two more points as SCSU closed things out 25-16.
Set 4 was close for awhile as Wildcats and Owls tied at 15-15, but Southern was on the verge of another set deciding run. Epstein spiked the ball off a defender and out of play, a Wilmington attack error followed, and Deecher totally smashed one over, before on the next point an other attack error occurred from Wilmington. It was now 19-15. Wilmington tried to regain momentum with a time out, but they managed only 2 points before SCSU closed out the set with five straight points to end it 25-17.
Lisa Barbaro’s Owls are now 15-5 (3-1 NE10) and Kim Huggins-Habbert’s Wilmington Wildcats are 10-9 (6-1 CACC).
For Wilmington Mandy Behiels had 11 kills, and Oliver had 9. Heather Pedrick led the team with 20 Assists and 2 Aces, and 16 digs. Oliver had 1 solo block, Dorie Moore had 3 shared blocks, Pedrick had 2 shared blocks and Behiels had 1. Elly Collins had 24 digs to lead the team.
Epstein and Deecher led SCSU with 10 kills each, and Vazquez had 9. Epstein hit for .360 and Benson and Olson hit for .333. Taylor Jones had 27 Assists and 1 Ace, while Lily Miller had 2 Aces. Krisnalei So’oto and Deecher also had an Ace. Epstein and Benson each had 2 solo blocks and 2 shared blocks. Deecher, Gabriela Gaibur, Olson and Vazquez all shared 1 block each. So’oto led the team with 21 Digs though Gaibur had 18.