NEWARK, Del. – The Philadelphia University women's volleyball team was forced to play a fifth set for the first time this season and came out on top as the Rams picked up a hard-fought 3-2 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) victory (21-25, 25-19, 27-25, 22-25, 15-11) over host Wilmington (Del.) University Wednesday night in the WU Athletics Complex.
Philadelphia (10-3, 3-0 CACC) had four players record a double-figure kill total, led by CACC co-player of the week Courtney Wensel (Bechtelsville, Pa./Berks Catholic)—who had a match-high 18 kills. Wensel also racked up 21 digs for her ninth double-double of the year.
Corinne Justus (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) had 14 kills while hitting an impressive .355. Mariah Cadzow (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) tallied her third double-double of 2016 with a 12-kill, 14-dig performance. Amber Johnson (Hanover, Pa./Delone Catholic) had 11 kills and five block assists.
Philadelphia—a winner of six in a row—had a 65-45 advantage in kills and an 88-76 edge in digs.
During the early stages of the opening set, neither team was able to establish much of an advantage as the teams would be deadlocked six times. With the set even at 15, Wilmington (4-7, 1-1 CACC) ran off three straight points, two on Philadelphia errors, to establish an 18-15 lead.The Rams got within two (20-18) on a Wildcat attack error. Wilmington took five-point lead (24-19) on one of Jill Braunsberg's nine kills.
The Rams put together a solid second-set performance, never trailing in the set and posting an attack percentage of .216. Led by two Harrington aces and a pair of block assists on back-to-back plays from Johnson and Becca Lutterschmidt (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall), Philadelphia went on an 11-2 surge to open up a 14-4 lead. Wilmington closed the gap to five twice (17-12, 24-19).
Philadelphia had to rally late to win a scrappy third set, in which the Rams hit .070 and the Wildcats had a .077 attack percentage. Wilmington went on a 4-0 run to move within a point of winning the set (25-24). Cadzow broke the Wilmington momentum with a kill and tied the set. Philadelphia won the set on a Wilmington error and another Cadzow kill.
In the fourth set, Philadelphia recorded a match-high 17 kills, but also committed 11 errors. The Rams had an early 4-3 lead, but the Wildcats scored five of the next six points—the final three on Philadelphia errors—to take a three-point lead (8-5). After Philadelphia came back to tie the set at 11, Wilmington took control of the set with three straight points. The Rams were able to get back within one, but couldn't reclaim the lead.
Back-to-back Cadzow kills sparked a 4-0 run that gave Philadelphia a 4-1 lead. With its lead down to one, Philadelphia scored four points in a row, the final two on Wensel kills, to go ahead by five (9-4). Wilmington rallied to even the set at nine, but Philadelphia bounced back to score six of the final eight points to win the match.
Allison Briley led Wilmington with 12 kills and 11 digs.
Philadelphia returns home for a Homecoming Day showdown against back-to-back CACC champion Post on Saturday, Sept. 24 at noon in the Gallagher Center.