Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Allison Briley by Frank Stallworth.
NEWARK, Del. - - A pivotal third set swung in favor of Philadelphia as the Rams won the final three sets of the match to defeat the Wilmington volleyball team, 3-1, in a crucial Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference match on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
Set scores for the match for the Wildcats were 25-13, 18-25, 26-28, and 13-25.
Four straight points in the third set gave the Wildcats (21-8, 14-4 CACC) a 23-21 lead but the Rams (19-5, 15-2 CACC) tied the match with a kill and block, 23-23. Erin Bistany gave the Wildcats set point with a kill, but the Wildcats couldn't capitalize as the Rams answered with a kill of their own. Allison Briley gave the Wildcats another set point with a big swing but the Rams again answered, this time with back-to-back points to take a 26-25. Alex Siolos staved off one set point with a kill, but back-to-back blocks at the net by the Rams gave the visitors the set, 28-26, and a 2-1 lead in the match.
That set stemmed the tied of the match for the Wildcats, as the Rams came out scored 10 of the first 15 points of the fourth set. Kills from Siolos and Briley, and a solo block from Bistany brought the Wildcats to within 11-9, but the Wildcats wouldn't get any closer for the rest of the match. Another 3-0 run and a 5-1 stretch pushed the Rams to 18-11. A Wildcat block and a kill from Briley cut the deficit to 18-13, but the Rams rattled off the last seven points of the match to take the set, 25-13, and the match, 3-1.
The Wildcats got off to a quick start in the match, putting multiple runs together to grab a 12-3 lead in the first set. Leading 17-11, the Wildcats scored eight of the next 10 points, including the final three points to take the game, 25-13, and jump out to an early lead in the match.
The roles were reversed in the second set, as the Rams took leads of 10-3 and 13-9 before scoring four straight for the 17-9 lead. The Wildcats climbed back to within three at 21-18, but the Rams scored the final four points of the set, getting a block on set points to tie the match, 1-1, and setting up the epic third set.
The Wildcats hit .192 in the first set but then never got above .100 again, hitting .073 for the match. The Wildcats out blocked the Rams, 12-9, but the Rams were able to come up with more digs, 91-77, leading to the Wildcats' low attacking numbers.
Briley led the Wildcats with 12 kills while picking up 18 digs as well. She hit .135 for the match on 52 swings. Shelby Henderson led the team with 22 digs while Kaitlin DiGiacinto added 14 digs. Miranda Shaw was the final Wildcat to reach double figures, keeping 11 balls off the floor for the Wildcats. Shaw also added 30 assists.
At the net, Bistany led the charge for the Wildcats with two solo and four block assists while Siolos added a solo and four block assists as well. Briley and Eile Harris also get a hand on four block assists as well.
The win clinched the CACC South Division Regular Season Championship for the Rams while the loss clinched the second seed in the division for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats have their final nonconference match of the year on Tuesday, as they travel to Millersville before returning home for the regular season finale next Saturday.