PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - Down a set and down late in the second set, the Wilmington University volleyball team stormed back to defeat Chestnut Hill, 3-1, in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener on Wednesday night inside Sorgenti Arena.
Set scores for the match were 20-25, 28-26, 25-21, and 25-21.
The Wildcats (3-6, 1-0 CACC) out-blocked the Griffins (1-3, 0-1 CACC), 9-3, and collected more service aces, 8-3, to win the match, despite being out hit and out-dug.
Only trailing 18-17 in the opening set, the Wildcats allowed seven of the next 10 points to go the way of the Griffins to fall down a set.
The Wildcats were down big in the second set, 17-8, and still down, 21-16, late in the game. But the Wildcats never gave up, taking the next five points to tie the set at 21-21. The Griffins had set point, 24-23, but Angel Oliver came up with a kill to tie the set before Mandy Behiels collected a solo block to take a 25-24 lead.
But the Griffins had an answer again, as they came back with a pair of kills to once again have set point, 26-25. Behiels answered the call and put down three straight terminations to complete the comeback and tie the match, 28-26.
The Wildcats carried that momentum into the third set, holding a 13-11 lead before rattling off six straight points to take a 19-11 lead. The Griffins wouldn't roll over, however, as they fought back with six straight points of their own and nine of 11 to climb to within 22-21. Rawlinson ended the run with a kill before Behiels gave the Wildcats set point, 24-21, with a kill. A Griffin attack error put the Wildcats up, 2-1, with the third set, 25-21.
Wilmington jumped out to leads of 5-0, 11-4, and 13-5, early in the fourth set, but the Griffins once again fought back and used a 4-0 spurt to eventually tie the set, 20-20. A service error, followed by back-to-back Brittany Ford service aces gave the Wildcats a 23-20 lead. Behiels gave the Wildcats a 24-21 advantage before a Griffin error ended the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1, in favor of the Wildcats.
Behiels led the Wildcats with 13 kills while adding 17 digs for the double-double. Rawlinson added 10 kills and a .292 attack percentage, while Bailey Andres put down 10 kills with a .182 attack percentage. Both Rawlinson and Andrews had one solo block and three block assists each as well. Jenna Brown led the back row with 24 digs while Jill Braunsberg dished out a team high 21 assists. Angel Oliver led the team with a .429 attack percentage, putting down eight kills on 14 attempts with only two errors.
The Wildcats make their 2018 home debut this weekend when they host the Wildcat Regional Invitational at the WU Athletics Complex. They will face Merrimack and American International on Friday with the first match starting at 1:00 p.m.