CLAYMONT – Archmere’s volleyball team, fresh off a thrilling five-set victory in Padova last week, returned to Moglia Fieldhouse for the final battle of their very tough schedule. In front of a nearly full house, including a noisy student section, the Auks held off a determined Ursuline side, 3-1. The sets scores were 25-20, 25-27, 25-16 and 25-23.
We had the feeling very early on that it would not be a quick three sets. The Auks took a 4-1 lead to open the game, but a Nina Piretti kill sent the Raiders into an 8-0 run. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Auks ran five in a row, with Katie Kuehl earning three of those points on kills.
The first-set streaks continued, with Ursuline leading by four, only to see Archmere break a 14-14 tie with three in a row, including two aces from Kuehl. The Auks took the lead for good at 20-19 on a cross from Lydia Scarpaci’s strip, and Jessica Lattanzi finished the set with a block.
Hannah Kelley gave the Raiders a 6-5 lead in the second when she won a ball 50-50, only to see Kuehl match it with another kilometer. After that, however, a serve error came back into the lead and serve to the Raiders, and they got to work. Kelley served up three aces on an 8-0 run, with Julia Terzaghi adding some well-placed kills.
Again the Auks fought back, continuing their own 9-1 run to level the score at 15 on a spike from Abby Garcia. From there it was tied on all counts until 21-21. Back-to-back errors gave the Raiders a 23-31 advantage, and after an Ursulines mishandling, a Terzaghi point sent him to the set point. The Auks won the next three points, taking a 25-24 lead, but the Raiders closed it on an unforced error to tie the game at one set apiece.
The Auks took the lead early in the third, and this time the Raiders could only equalize at 7 before the home side pulled out. Leading 10-8, Kuehl hit a ball through the Raiders’ wall, kicking off an 8-1 streak. Sophia Scarpaci was serving during this run, and she made it count. She had three aces, including consecutive ones to close the run, before Terzaghi got one for Ursuline.
The Raiders saved two set points, but an error ended the set and gave the Auks a 2-1 lead.
That set up the fourth set, with the Auks determined not to go the distance any longer, and the Ursuline in no rush to go home. Archmere got off to a good start, with Ella Strohmaier firing two aces in a 5-0 run, sending the student section into a frenzy. Again the momentum changed and Archmere coach Jerry McCarthy called a time out to calm his troops down.
McCarthy’s message got through. Ava Beach booked a 6-0 run out of timeout, giving up one for the first point and then stuffing an overpass to make it 16-8. But the Raiders got back there, eventually closing in single digits at 24-23. But Alanah Weaver took a bump on Autumn Richardson-Peters and bombarded a shot at a Raider to clinch the win.
Kuehl and Cece Connolly led a balanced offense from Auks with nine kills apiece, while Beach had eight. Lattanzi had six blocks. Archmere (3-1) faces a challenge on the road Wednesday during his visit to the Delaware Army at 6:30 p.m.
Ursuline’s final stats weren’t available late Monday night. Raiders (2-2) host Tower Hill Saturday at 1 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.