Middles Take Over as Wilmington Volleyball Storms Back in Dramatic Fashion, Defeats Caldwell in Five Set Thriller
VB: Wilmington 3 - Caldwell 2
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - Newark, Del.
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Wilmington moved to 23-4 overall and 15-0 in the CACC with a 3-2 come from behind victory over Caldwell. Photo by Frank Stallworth
Alex Siolos (27) and Katie Shorter (2) block an attempt from Caldwell. Shorter ended with career highs in block assists. Photo by Frank Stallworth
Brittany Biddle carried the Wildcats in the fourth set and tied a career high with four block solos against Caldwell. Photo by Frank Stallworth
Trailing two sets to none against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division power Caldwell College, the Wilmington University stormed all the way back to win in dramatic fashion, 3-2, keeping its perfect CACC record intact on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
After an uncharacteristically poor showing in the first two sets by the home team, junior middles Brittany Biddle and Katie Shorter took the match over, both finishing with career afternoons in leading the Wildcats (23-4, 15-0 CACC) to the come from behind victory for their 13th straight win.
Caldwell (19-10, 11-3 CACC) had its own nine-match win streak snapped with the loss, as they jumped all over the Wildcats in the first two sets, but couldn’t slow down the momentum of the home team. The Cougars’ Susan McDonough and Rachael DiLeonardo both finished with a match high 18 kills.
Set scores for the match were 20-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-15 and 16-14.
After dropping the first two sets of the match, the Wildcats’ defense showed up in the third game, keeping them alive in the match. The defense held the Cougars to a negative .125 attack percentage in the third set, picking up three team blocks and 16 digs. A long run with Annie Scarfo serving set up the third set victory, as Nicole Wiechecki earned the side-out with a kill, handing the ball over to Scarfo who picked up four straight points, including an ace at the end, to put the Wildcats up 13-8.
Leading 13-9, the Wildcats scored five of the next six points to push the lead to 18-10 and closed out the set on a 7-2 run, aided by three straight errors by the Cougars at the end for the 25-14 win.
The fourth set belonged to Biddle in the middle of the court, as she turned the match around single handed with four kills and three solo blocks in the fourth set alone. With Caldwell scoring three of four points to get within three at 16-13, Biddle sparked a big run by the Wildcats with her first solo block of the set. Her second solo block forced a Caldwell timeout,, giving the Wildcats a 19-13 lead while her third solo block of the run gave the home team a 21-13 lead. Her fourth and final kill of the set gave Wilmington a 23-14 lead before Wiechecki set the match to a fifth and deciding set with a kill, 25-15.
With the momentum on their side, and noticing the middles have begun to take over the match, Wildcat setters Kasey Couch and Alex Siolos continued to go to their horses at the net as Shorter collected four kills while Biddle added three in the fifth set.
The set started with back and forth action, but a Cougar attack error gave the Wildcats a two-point advantage, 6-4, as they would not relinquish the lead. The Wildcats carried and 8-6 lead as the team’s switched sides of the net.
After the switch, Shorter sent a ball to the floor and Wiechecki followed suit with an ace for the 10-7 lead. The team’s traded points before a two-point swing by the Wildcats opened up some breathing room. Biddle tallied a kill followed by an ace from Siolos, forcing Caldwell into their final timeout of the set at 13-9. But the Cougars would not roll over, as they retaliated to save four match points and tie the match at 14-14, but after a Wiechecki kill for a 15-14 lead, Shorter slammed a ball down with authority off a pass from Siolos to cap the comeback.
Shorter finished with a career high 15 kills, hitting a career best .519 when tallying at least 10 kills, and adding a new career mark with eight block assists. Biddle tied her best with four block solos and was a kill off her career best, finishing with 13. She did not commit an error on the afternoon, attempting 30 attacks for a .433 average.
Five Wildcats finished in double figures in digs, leading the back row defensively. Wiechecki tallied a team high 22 while DiGiacinto and Siolos added 16 each. Freshman Shelby Henderson continued her excellent week off the bench for the Wildcats, chipping in with 13 digs. Couch was the final Wildcat in double-digits, adding 11 digs on top of her 28 assists.
The Wildcats hit .251 for the match, but held the Cougars to a .164 attack percentage including the -.125 mark in the third and a .000 percentage in the fourth to get back into contest. The Wildcats also out-blocked Caldwell, 14-4, for the match.
Wilmington has three matches this week, as they look to stay unbeaten in the CACC. Their first match is Tuesday on the road at cross-town rival Goldey-Beacom. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.