Press Release Written by Sports Information Graduate Intern Mary Kate Rumbaugh
CALDWELL, N.J. – It was a close first three sets, but the Wilmington University volleyball team came back to win the fourth and fifth set to take a 3-2 win over Caldwell in the final regular season match on Saturday afternoon at George Newman Center.
Set scores for the match were 25-23, 27-29, 26-28, 25-19, and 15-9.
With the win, Wilmington finished fourth in the South Division and will play No. 1 Felician from the North Division in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday night at Felician.
Throughout the first three sets, the Wildcats (20-13, 12-7 CACC) or Caldwell (13-18, 11-8 CACC) would only win by a margin of two points.
Caldwell would jump out to a 10-6 lead in the first set, thanks to a seven-point run, but the Wildcats would be able to tie the set up at 18-18, before the set was tied up four more times, until WilmU took a 23-22 lead. The Cougars would fight off one set point, but a service error would give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
The second set would tie 11 times, including on a service ace from Sarah Couch to put the game at 22-22. Caldwell would secure two straight points to go up 24-23 on the Wildcats held them off by a kill from Bailey Andrews to retie again at 24-24. The Cougars would steal two more consecutive points, but WilmU would hold them off again to regain a 27-26 lead, but Caldwell would fight back again to take the next three points and win the set, 29-27.
Wilmington would go on a 7-3 run in the third set to regain the lead, 10-8, before jumping out to an 18-11 lead. The Cougars would once again hold on, as they came back on a 9-3 run to bring the score within a point. The set would then tie five times, including on set point, but the Cougars would hold the Wildcats off, securing the final three points again to take a 28-26 win.
The Wildcats started on a 4-0 run to begin the fourth set, before the Cougars tied it up 4-4, but Wilmington would not look back this time, as they held the lead for the remainder of the set. The Cougars did come within one point, to make it a 21-19 contest, but Rebecca Rawlinson gave the Wildcats a needed kill to start a five-point run to take the fourth set, 25-19 and force the fifth and final set.
In the fifth set, the lead would tie three times, including a kill from Mandy Behiels to tie it up at 5-5, before Behiels went back-to-back with another kill to put the Wildcats back in front. Caldwell would come with one point to make it an 8-7 game, but Behiels gave WilmU the advantage with another kill to help them go on a five-point run to now lead, 13-7, before taking the 15-9 win.
Bailey Andrews and Mandy Behiels both secured a double-double in the win, as Andrews recorded 17 kills and 11 digs, while Behiels had 15 kills and 12 digs. Rebecca Rawlinson was one block away from a double-double, as the senior had 12 kills and nine blocks at the net. Sarah Couch dished out 54 assists, while added nine digs, as freshman Elly Collins recorded a new career-high of 36 digs in the back row.
First serve on Tuesday night is set for 6:00 p.m. at Job Gymnasium.