WILMINGTON — Trailing late in sets one and three, the Wilmington College volleyball team rallied in both for a straight-set victory (26-24, 25-18, 25-22) victory over Defiance College in non-conference action at Fred Raizk Arena Monday evening.
“I thought our team was locked in and ready to play the entire match,” WC coach Sophie Windover said. “We had moments where our focus loosened, but our court leaders brought the team back.”
Neither team led by more than four points until late in the first set when the Yellow Jackets won 5-of-6 points to take a 24-19 advantage. A block from Christina Yarian and Andie Dolven got the Fightin’ Quakers a side out, and a Yarian unassisted kill on an overpass fought off another set point. A setting error and other Wilmington block, this one from Yarian and Sofia Thomas, tied the set 24-24. A Yellow Jacket attack error gave the hosts their first set point, and Thomas put down a kill to give Wilmington a 26-24 set one win.
Defiance won the first three points of the second set, but with the score 13-13, Victoria Long stepped up to the service line. Her aggressive serving kept the Yellow Jackets out of system with two service aces and six serves in total. A Yellow Jacket timeout in the middle couldn’t stop the run as Thomas pounded down two more kills, giving the hosts a 18-13 advantage. The Quakers would ride that advantage to a 2-0 match lead.
The Yellow Jackets won 5-of-6 points to open set three, forcing a timeout from Windover. The Quakers answered, as a Long kill put the sophomore at the service line. There, just as in set two, Long served Wilmington back to a tie game. Neither team would break away until a quick 4-0 spurt from Defiance up 17-16 forced Windover to call a timeout. A service error followed, and Wilmington would go on to win 8-of-9 points to end the set including three kills from Shelby Stoops and two from Long to win the match in straight sets.
Wilmington hit a .156 clip for the match compared to a .109 attack percentage for Defiance. The Quakers won the serve-pass game as well as tallying five blocks.
Individually, Thomas finished with a team-high 11 kills while Yarian and Long had eight and seven kills respectively. Andie Dolven assisted on 32 of the team’s 36 kills while Blake O’Brien tallied a match-high 27 digs.
“Christina [Yarian] had a great week of practice, and it showed in the match tonight,” said Windover. “She runs effective sliders and connects well with Andie [Dolven]. Blake [O’Brien] played lights out as well. She runs the back run well with her athleticism.”
Mackenzie Benham led Defiance with 13 kills on 39 swings in defeat.
Wilmington (2-1) heads to the College of Wooster for the first road match of the season at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.