WILMINGTON – The Padua Academy volleyball team could have looked past Avon Grove (Pa.) to Tuesday's showdown with St. Mark's, but the veteran Pandas stayed focused during a 3-0 sweep Saturday afternoon on Broom Street.
Led by seniors Allyson Jennings, who had 15 kills, and Jennifer Borio, who added 10, the Pandas defeated Avon Grove, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-14.
Padua's front-line talent, including Jennings, Borio, Ashley Musciatti and Vanessa Crumety, were simply too much for the Red Devils. Coming off Thursday's nailbiter at Archmere, Padua was not interested in a repeat. In that contest, Padua won the first two sets before Archmere rallied to tie, forcing a fifth-set, which the Pandas won.
Padua took control in the second set with a six-point run that made the score 16-10, but Avon Grove fought back to force a tie at 17. Leading 22-20, Padua scored on a service error and a mishit by Avon Grove, leading to set point. The Red Devils held off the Pandas for two points, but a Crumety kill ended the set.
In the third, Avon Grove started with a 3-0 lead, but Padua rebounded, and the teams exchanged points for several minutes. Padua slowly took control, building a 14-9 lead en route to the win.
The Pandas are now 3-0 on the year heading into their game at St. Mark's on Tuesday, which is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. These teams know each other well; last year, St. Mark's defeated Padua twice, and the Spartans currently have a four-match winning streak vs. the Pandas.
St. Mark's is also 3-0 this season and have not lost a set so far. The Spartans' closest game has been 25-18. Their last game was Thursday at Wilmington Friends. They are led by seniors Abbie Mirabella and Claudia Seemans.