WC volleyball drops four at Manchester

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Wilmington College volleyball team completed the two-day Manchester University Invitational with losses to host Manchester and Indiana University Northwest on Saturday.

The Spartans defeated the Fightin’ Quakers 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 18-25, 25-22) while IU-Northwest swept Wilmington 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-17).

In the loss to Manchester, Wilmington battled back from an early set one deficit to take an 11-10 lead on a kill from Amber Rox, but the Spartans went on a 13-3 run and held that advantage to win the first set.

Wilmington looked to split the match as the Quakers took a 24-21 lead in set two thanks to a kill from Jillian Wesco, but a side out and a five-point service run from Anna Marie Lawrie gave the Spartans a 26-24 win.

The Quakers again took a lead in set three, but closed out the set this time around by holding the Spartans to a .000 attack percentage in the set. Unfortunately, Wilmington couldn’t force a decisive fifth set.

Taylor McCuistion led Wilmington with a career-high 11 kills while Wesco had seven. Jacie Koontz and Grace Ewing split the setting duties and combined for 29 assists while Karley Schlensker had 23 digs.

In the loss to IU-Northwest, the Red Hawks were held to under a .250 attack percentage in each set, but the Quakers failed to hit over a .150 clip in any of the three sets.

Wesco led Wilmington with eight kills and four errors on 18 swings while Mariella Szrom added six kills. Koontz finished with 13 assists while McCuistion had a team-high 12 digs.

Amber Rox was named to the All-Tournament team.

Wilmington (1-11) hosts Bluffton University on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

On Friday, WC opened a pair of losses, falling to Governor’s State University (Ill.) 3-2 (25-27, 25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 15-4) and Saint Mary’s College (Ind.) 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-21).

In the loss to Governor’s State, Wilmington won four of the first six points thanks to two kills from Karrah Wind, but a 7-2 run from the Jaguars forced a timeout from head coach Tim O’Brien. Governor’s State would hold the five-point advantage and lead 19-13 before Wilmington mounted its comeback. Consecutive service aces from Wesco spurned a 6-1 run capped by a Schlensker service ace to give Wilmington the set.

In set two, the two teams were tied 18-18, but it was Governor’s State which made the push this time, ending the set on a 7-1 run to level the match.

In set three, kills from Grace Ewing, Morgan Loomis and Wesco along with a Jaguar attack error helped the Quakers win the set.

Down 2-1, Governor’s State hit a .600 clip in set four while putting down 10 kills compared to just one error on 15 attack attempts. The two teams were tied 4-4 in set five, but the Jaguars won the final 11 points to win the match in come-from-behind fashion.

The Quakers countered with their duo of Wesco and Wind combining for 22 kills. Koontz dished out 21 assists while Karley Schlensker had a dozen digs and Mariella Szrom added four block assists.

In the loss to Saint Mary’s, the Belles led the first two sets nearly from start to finish. Trailing 2-0, Wilmington battled Saint Mary’s to a 20-20 tie in the third set, only to see the Belles end the match on a 5-1 run fueled by two service aces.

For Wilmington, Rox turned in one of her best performances of the season to date, finishing the match with seven kills and no errors on 14 attack attempts. Ewing and Alyssa McKenzie split the setting duties and combined for 21 assists while Wesco led the back row with eight digs.