Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of celebration following match point.
NEWARK, Del. - - Facing a pair of match points in the fourth set, the Wilmington University volleyball team fought back to take the game and the match in the fifth, 3-2, over Caldwell on Tuesday night at to advance to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Semifinals.
Set scores for the match were 25-15, 11-25, 23-25, 27-25, and 15-11.
The CACC Tournament Quarterfinal win propels the Wildcats into the CACC Tournament Semifinals on Friday, as they will take on the top seeded Post University Eagles at Georgian Court.
The CACC South Division's second seeded Wildcats (23-9) came out of the gates roaring, using the large home crowd to jump all over the Cougars (21-12) early on. The Cougars fought back in the second set and took it to the Wildcats to tie the match.
The Wildcats led 17-15 in the third set but the Cougars scored eight of the next nine points to take command at 23-18. A Caldwell kill gave the visitors set point at 24-19 before the Wildcats rattled off four straight points to cut the deficit to a single point at 24-23. But Caldwell came up with a kill to take a 2-1 match lead.
The fourth set was what was expected between the two teams, as the Wildcats jumped out to a 14-8 lead. Caldwell used a 4-0 run to get back into the contest but the Wildcats continued to lead before an Allison Briley kill gave the Wildcats a 19-15 lead. Another 4-0 run for Caldwell tied the set, 19-19, and the team traded the next seven points to give Wilmington a 23-22 lead. A Caldwell kill and a Wilmington error gave Caldwell match point, 24-23, and the heat was on.
Wilmington's Shelby Henderson allowed a Caldwell push to go wide to save the first match point but the Cougars again at the match at hand, 25-24. A bad set kept the Wildcats alive, 25-25, before Briley put down a kill to give Wilmington set point, 26-25. Another ball handling error on Caldwell allowed Wilmington to take the set, 27-25, and an extra breathe as the match was tied, 2-2.
Leading 6-5 in the fifth, the Wildcats got a kill from Erin Bistany, a block from Bistany and Miranda Shaw at the turn, a Cougar attack error, and a kill from Bistany to take a commanding 10-5 lead. The teams continued to trade the next eight points, but an Alex Siolos kill gave the Wildcats match point at 14-9. Caldwell was able to stay alive for two points, but Siolos put down another attack to complete the comeback, 15-11.
Briley finished with her second 20-20 of the season, putting down 21 kills while adding 20 digs. She also hit .259 for the match on 58 swings, committing just six errors. Siolos collected 16 terminations while adding 14 digs and four block assists and Bistany chipped in with 12 kills, a solo block, and four block assists.
Shelby Henderson finished with a match high 33 digs while Kaitlin DiGiacinto added 21 digs and nine kills. Miranda Shaw passed out a season's best 55 assists while adding 14 digs for the double-double.
The match was even throughout, as the Cougars hit .185 as compared to the Wildcats' .175. The Wildcats narrowly collected more digs, 112-111, while the blocks were even, 8-8. The Wildcats hit .417 with 11 kills in the fifth and deciding set while the Cougars hit .214.
The Wildcats and Eagles will play the first CACC Tournament Semifinal match on Friday, with the first service set for 1:00 p.m. in the Wellness Center on the campus of Georgian Court in Lakewood, N.J.