PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - The season finale went the distance and the Wilmington University volleyball team battled back to defeat Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference foe Chestnut Hill, 3-2, inside Sorgenti Arena on Saturday night.
Set scores for the match were 25-27, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22, and 16-14.
Trailing 2-1, the Wildcats (14-18, 10-8 CACC) fought back to force a fifth set and again fought back facing match point to score the final three points of the match to win the final game of the year. The Griffins (9-21, 8-10 CACC) led 10-7 in the fifth set, and held match point, 14-13, before falling to the Wildcats.
Down a set, the Wildcats came out in the second and hit a match high .538, putting down 15 kills while only making one error on 26 swings. They easily tied the match, 1-1, with a second se win, 25-16.
But the Griffins answered in the third set, breaking a 15-15 tie with a 3-0 spurt en route to a 7-2 run to take a 22-17 lead. The Wildcats closed to 22-19, but the Griffins scored the final two sets of the game to regain a 2-1 lead, 25-20.
The Wildcats were trailing, 18-14, in the fourth set, but mounted a late game, match-tying comeback. Still down 21-18, Rebecca Rawlinson put down a kill before Miranda Shaw answered with an ace, forcing the Griffins into a timeout. Out the of the break, a Griffin error kept Shaw on the serve before Mandy Behiels gave the Wildcats a 22-21 lead with a kill. The Griffins tied the set with a kill, but Shaw sparked a 3-0 run to end the set, putting down two kills to tie the match, 2-2, at 25-22.
The Wildcats led the fifth set, 7-6, but the Griffins retaliated with a 4-0 swing to take a 10-7 lead. Out of a Wilmington timeout, the Griffins gave a point over to the Wildcats with a service error, sparking a 3-0 lead to tie the set, 10-10, getting back-to-back kills from Behiels and Rawlinson. But the Griffins had an answer again, moving ahead, 12-10, with a kill and a Wildcat error. Behiels gave the ball back to Wilmington with a kill before another CHC error tied the set, 12-12.
Erin Bistany gave the Wildcats a 13-12 lead with a kill, but a Corrine Kalala block tied the match once again, 13-13, for the Griffins. An attack error by Bistany gave the Griffins match points, 14-13, but Rawlinson responded with a kill. A ball handling error gave the Wildcats match point, 15-14, and a final Griffin attack error settled the score, 16-14, in the fifth set.
Behiels had a match high 19 kills on 50 swings, only committing six errors for a .260 attack percentage. Senior Eile Harris added 15 kills with only three errors for a .462 attack percentage in her final match as a Wildcat. Rawlinson was the final Wildcat with double digit kills, putting down 10 terminations on 26 swings with only two errors.
Jill Braunsberg dished out a ream high 32 assists while Shaw added 29 helpers. Addalyn Flores finished with a match high 34 digs, while Behiels collected a double-double with 17 digs. Braunsberg added a double-double with 13 digs while Shaw also chipped in with a double-double by adding 10 digs.
The Wildcats' 14 wins are four more than last year, while their 10-9 CACC record is a three-match improvement from a season ago.