WILMINGTON – Ursuline played well and hung tough Tuesday night in a Catholic Conference volleyball matchup, but the Raiders had few answers for Padua's height along the front line as the host Pandas took a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-20 and 25-16).
The Raiders (3-5) did not lead in a set until they went up 8-7 in the third. They extended the advantage to 9-7 on a net violation by Padua, but the Pandas, now 7-0 and ranked first in the state, scored the next four points. Sarah Wiley's ace made the score 11-9, and the Pandas were on their way to a win.
This was a team effort for Padua. Jennifer Borio led the way with 13 kills, while Allyson Jennings added 11. The team also received six from Stephanie Annone, five from Sarah Cushing, and four each from Vanessa Crumety and Ashley Muschiatti. Four of Padua's final five points in the match came off kills, one each from Jennings, Crumety, Annone and Cushing.
With Padua attempting so many kills, Ursuline needed to be on its game defensively, and the Raiders certainly were. Erin Joyce led all players with 24 digs, several of the one-handed variety, including one or two as she headed off the court surface. The Raiders also managed to block several kill attempts, but the Pandas were just too strong.
The first game featured some uncertain play, as both teams committed a number of unforced errors. Ursuline trailed, 5-0, before battling back to tie the game at 9. Padua led, 12-11, when it ran off a streak of four straight. Ursuline ended that run on a kill by Caroline Francois, but 16-13 was as close as the visitors would get. Muschiatti ended the first set with a kill.
The second game was quite competitive throughout. A tip by Kailyn Kampert brought the Raiders to within 5-3, but Padua scored the next six points with Haley Baker serving. Ursuline rebounded with three straight of its own, the last one an ace by Madeline Hughes. Padua held a small lead the rest of the set, but Ursuline got as close as one point at 19-18 on a service error by Padua. Muschiatti ended this set as well with another kill.
Padua is back in action with its fourth straight home match this Friday at 5:30 p.m. vs. Tower Hill, ranked fifth by The News Journal. The Hillers are 6-1,with sweeps in all six victories. Their lone loss was against Charter School. Ursuline is off until Oct. 9, when the Raiders host Merion Mercy Academy (Pa.) in a 6:15 p.m. start.
In other volleyball action on Tuesday night, No. 2 St. Mark's swept Charter, 3-0. The scores were 25-21, 25-19 and 25-20. The Spartans are also 6-1, with their only loss coming vs. Padua. Charter fell to 7-1.