Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Erin Harvey.
NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University volleyball team opened the 2015 Wildcat Regional Invitational with split on Friday, defeating American International before falling to Franklin Pierce at the WU Athletics Complex.
Set scores for the match against American International were 25-18, 25-19, and 25-18.
Set scores for the match against Franklin Pierce were 19-25, 13-25, 25-18, 26-24, and 12-15.
The Wildcats (3-3) opened the 2015 Wildcat Regional Invitational in grand fashion, taking it to the Yellow Jackets in straight sets. The Wildcats hit .255 for the match while holding AIC to a .068 attack percentage as a team. Shelby Henderson led the defense with 14 digs while Alex Siolos tallied four block assists. Eile Harris picked up the lone solo block of the match while added three block assists.
The Wildcats gained control in the first set when trailing 7-5, rattling off five straight points to take a 10-7 lead and never looking back. The second set went even deeper, as the Wildcats scored another five straight points to come back from a 17-16 deficit to take a 21-17 lead. The Yellow Jackets only ever led the third set, 1-0, before the Wildcats played from ahead the rest of the way.
Kaitlin DiGiacinto led the offense with 10 kills while only committing one error on 22 swings, hitting .409 for the match. Freshman Miranda Shaw (pictured) dished out 32 assists while Siolos added nine kills and seven assists.
Wilmington needed to battle from behind in the nightcap, falling behind 2-0 in the best of five sets match to Franklin Pierce. The Wildcats came out on fire, scoring the first five points of the set before another seven straight points opened the lead to 14-6. The Ravens closed to within three before the Wildcats scored the final four points of the set to stay alive.
The Ravens had three match points at the end of the fourth set before the Wildcats battled back, scoring five straight points to stun the Ravens, 26-24, and send it to a fifth and deciding frame. The fifth set was close, as the Ravens took the switch leading 8-7. A Harris block tied the match at 9-9 before a Shaw kill again tied it at 10-10. A Franklin Pierce ball handling error tied the game at 12-12, but the Raven tallied the final three points to take the fifth set.
Henderson recorded 18 digs in the match, becoming the third player in program history to cross the 1,500-career dig plateau. She is currently third all-time on the Wildcats' all-time list. Siolos and Allison Briley each collected double-doubles, as Siolos knocked down 11 kills and added a team high 22 digs in the loss. Briley added 11 kills and 17 digs for the double-double while Erin Bistany was the final Wildcat in double figures with 12 kills. Shaw also finished with a double-double, posting 35 assists and 12 digs in the loss.
The remainder of the 2015 Wildcat Regional Invitational will be played on Saturday, as the Wildcats square off against Pace at 10 a.m. before finishing the Invitational against Le Moyne at 4 p.m.