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Defense Leads Wilmington Volleyball Past Caldwell in Straight Sets

Defense Leads Wilmington Volleyball Past Caldwell in Straight Sets

The defense of the Wilmington University volleyball team came up with ball after ball, allowing the Wildcats to sweep Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division foe Caldwell, 3-0, at the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Set scores for the match were 25-12, 25-22, and 25-18.

The Wildcats (8-11, 5-2 CACC) out-blocked the Cougars (9-7, 4-2 CACC), 10-3, and collected 65 digs, forcing the visitors to hit .032 for the match. On the flip side, the Wildcats hit .176 and collected 41 kills with only 19 errors.

Piggybacking off their hot start in sets yesterday, the Wildcats started strong in the first set on Saturday, jumping out to a 12-4 lead. Leading 18-10, the Wildcats scored four straight points, getting a kill from Erin Bistany to move ahead 22-10. Kills from Hannah Karas and Kaitlin DiGiacinto gave the Wildcats set point while another DiGiacinto termination gave the Wildcats the 1-0 match lead.

Wilmington took the first three points of the second set, but the Cougars battled back to take the lead 8-7 before the Wildcats made their move. Getting a kill from DiGiacinto to start the rally, the Wildcats used the serve of Bistany to collect five consecutive points to take a 13-8 lead. But trailing 19-13, the visitors scored six straight to tie the set, 19-19. Kills from Allison Briley and Bistany pushed the Wildcat lead back to 22-19 before the Cougars closed the gap again, 23-22. The Wildcats received kills from Eile Harris and an attack error from the Cougars to close out the set and take a 2-0 match lead.

Caldwell came out hot in the third set, scoring five straight points to turn a 11-10 deficit into a 15-11 lead midway through the game. But the Wildcats rallied, taking the next four points to tie the match and ran a string of five consecutive points to move ahead 20-16. Back-to-back kills from Bistany pushed the lead to 22-17, while Harris collected a solo block to give the Wildcats match point, 24-18. Caldwell hit another one out of bounds, giving the Wildcats the set and the match.

DiGiacinto led the offense with 11 kills and only four errors while picking up the double-double with 10 digs. Briley added nine kills while Bistany collected seven kills with only one error. Harris led the team with a .455 hitting percentage, putting down six kills with only one error on 11 swings.

Shelby Henderson led the Wildcats with 20 digs while Kasey Couch, DiGiacinto, and Jess Starr each added 10 digs. Harris was the force at the net, denying three Cougar attacks on her own while adding two block assists. Bistany added a solo block and had a hand on four more block assists. Karas also helped at the net, getting a hand on four block assists.

The Wildcats hit the road this upcoming week, rounding out their nonconference schedule with a match at Kutztown on Tuesday before returning to the CACC at Bloomfield on Saturday.