NEWARK, Del. - - The defensive side of the ball came to play on Friday night for the Wilmington University volleyball team, defeating Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference South Division foe Chestnut Hill, 3-1, at the WU Athletics Complex.
Set scores for the match were 25-20, 23-25, 25-18, and 25-17.
The defense totaled the second most blocks and second most digs on the year, collecting 11 total blocks and 108 digs on the night. Those numbers are second only to the numbers during their 3-1 victory against Franklin Pierce on September 9.
The win was the second straight for the Wildcats, as they improved to 8-12 overall and got back to .500 in the CACC, raising their record to 4-4. The loss snapped a two-match winning streak for the Griffins (4-14, 3-5 CACC).
The first set turned in favor of the Wildcats as the Griffins closed to within 10-8. A 7-2 spurt, including the final four points gave the Wildcats a 17-10 lead. The Griffins tried to come back and scored three straight, getting as close at 20-17. But the teams traded points until back-to-back ball handling errors on the Griffins gave the Wildcats the set, 25-20.
Back-to-back kills by Eile Harris and Mandy Beheils brought the Wildcats to within 19-18 in the second set, but the Griffins answered with a 5-0 run of their own to gain set point. Harris tried to keep the Wildcats in it with tough serves, gaining two aces during a 5-0 swing to get to within 24-23. Chestnut Hill was able to tie the match by getting their final kill, 25-23.
The Griffins had a 13-10 lead in the third set as well, but the Wildcats battled back to gain control of the game. A block by Harris and Brittany Ford tied the set at 13 but back-to-back points gave the Griffins a 15-14 lead. A Jill Braunsberg kill started a 6-0 run by the Wildcats, moving ahead, 20-15. Harris sparked another 3-0 spurt, getting the Wildcats to set point, 24-17. Rebecca Rawlinson gave the Wildcats the lead in the match with a kill, 25-18.
With the fourth set tied at 4-4 the Wildcats ran off six of the next seven points for a 9-5 lead, en route to an 11-2 run and a commanding 14-6 lead. A Mandy Behiels kill, followed by back-to-back aces from Harris and a kill from Deja Stanek gave the Wildcats an 18-8 advantage. The Griffins battled back with a 7-3 run, clawing to within 21-15. But the Griffins would only get as close as 24-17 before Harris put down the final termination of the match, 25-17.
Braunsberg collected her fifth triple-double of the season, leading the team with 11 kills and 23 assists. She also finished second on the team with 20 digs. Behiels hit .154 for the match with nine gills while Stanek and Ford added eight kills each. Stanek hit .583, picking up her eight kills in only two sets, committing one error on 12 swings.
Miranda Shaw collected another double-double as well, dishing out 21 assists while adding 17 digs. Addalyn Flores led the back row with 32 digs while Ford (18) and Behiels (14) also added double-digit digs.
Harris led the defense at the net as well, picking up three solo blocks to go along with four block assists. Ford had the other solo block for the Wildcats, adding two block assists. Rawlinson chipped in with three block assists while Stanek and Braunsberg added two each.
The Wildcats look to carry their momentum into Saturday morning, as they get right back onto the court with an 11:00 a.m. start. They kick-start a triple header at the WU Athletics Complex in part of the 2017 Wilmington University Homecoming Weekend, facing Bloomfield in a cross-divisional contest.