For the fourth year in a row the Wilmington University volleyball team is moving on to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Semifinals after defeating Dominican, 3-0, at the WU Athletics Complex on Tuesday night.
Set scores for the match were 25-19, 25-21, and 25-23.
The Wildcats (20-13), the South Division's number two seed in the CACC Tournament, move on to play the North Division's top seed Caldwell in the second semifinal match on Friday. The semifinal and championship rounds will be hosted by Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J.
Dominican (16-9), the North Division's third seed, scored four straight points to take a 9-7 lead early in the first set. But the Wildcats bounced back to score 7-of-9 to retake a 14-11 lead. Another four consecutive points pushed the lead to 19-13 following an ace from Alex Siolos. The Chargers scored three straight to close the gap to 20-17, but that would be as close as they would get as the Wildcats finished out the set with five of the next seven points for the 25-19 victory.
The Wildcats started hot in the second set, opening up a 6-2 lead following a block from Siolos and Erin Bistany. But the Chargers rallied to tie the set at 7-7 before eventually taking their first lead of the game at 17-16. Now trailing 19-17, the Wildcats received a kill from Kaitlin DiGiacinto to start a 6-0 run on the strength of Kasey Couch's serve to take a 23-19 lead. The teams traded points the rest of the way before Allison Briley put down a kill to win the set, 25-21.
A stretch in the third set where the Chargers won 7-out-of-10 points put the visitors ahead 20-18 before they held a 21-19 lead look to stay in the match. But the Wildcats received a kill from DiGiacinto to start a run of five straight points, capped by an ace from DiGiacinto and a boisterous kill from Eile Harris for match point. The Chargers stayed alive with back-to-back points before Siolos put the match away with a kill, sending the Wildcats back to the semifinals with a 25-13 third set win.
Defensively, the Wildcats were led by Couch who needed three digs to become the seventh student-athlete in Wilmington's NCAA era to reach 1,000 for their careers. She easily passed that while matching a team high with 15 digs on Tuesday night. She joins teammates Shelby Henderson and DiGiacinto in the 1,000-career dig club, as the two juniors surpassed the plateau earlier this season as well.
DiGiacinto paced the offense that hit .184 as a team with 11 kills and just three errors on the night, hitting .222 to go along with nine digs. Briley finished with seven kills and just one error while Siolos chipped in with seven kills, 16 assists, and 13 digs as well. Henderson added 15 digs to tie Couch with the team high.
The Chargers were led by First Team All-CACC honoree McKenzie John as she collected a 20-20 match with match highs of 22 kills and 26 digs. The Chargers out-blocked the Wildcats, 5-3, on the night.
Post University, the North Division's number two seed, defeated Philadelphia, 3-0, to move on to the semifinals on Friday as well. The Eagles will play host Georgian Court, the South Division's number one seed, in the first semifinal at 1:00 p.m., as a result of Georgian Court defeating Bloomfield, 3-2.