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NEWARK, Del. - - For the first time since 2015, the Wilmington University volleyball team will play a home game in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament First Round as it battled past Georgina Court, 3-2, to clinch the South Division's No. 2 seed on Wednesday night at the WU Athletics Complex.
Set scores for the Wildcats were 25-17, 24-26, 25-20, 15-25, and 15-10.
The win was the 20th in the season for the Wildcats, marking the ninth time in the program's NCAA era that they reached the 20-win plateau. It is also the second year in a row they reached 20 wins (2019), but just the second time since 2015.
The WU Athletics Complex had a playoff atmosphere to it on Wednesday night, as the two playoff bound teams were still battling for seeding coming into the contest. The play showed it as well, with the teams battling back and forth through the whole match.
With the first set tied, 12-12, the Wildcats used a 9-2 run to take command. Back-to-back blocks from Dorie Moore and a kill from Heather Pedrick put the Wildcats up, 22-14. The teams then traded point with Jessica Connelly giving the Wildcats a 25-17 win with a kill.
The Wildcats fought back in the second set to turn a 12-7 deficit into a 16-15 lead. Then the Wildcats used a 5-0 run to take a 22-18 lead, before a Dorie Moore solo block put the Wildcats two points away from the second set, 23-20. But the Lions fought back with four straight points to take a 24-23 lead. Mandy Behiels tied the set, 24-24, with a kill, but then Lions put down consecutive kills to tie the match, 26-24.
Down 13-11 in the third set, the Wildcats rattled off six straight in an 8-1 run to take a 19-14 lead. Two kills from Heather Pedrick and another from Mandy Behiels gave the Wildcats set point, 24-18. The Lions saved two set points but then Jessica Connelly put down a kill to win the third set, 25-20.
Georgian Court's serve got the Wildcats out of sorts in the fourth set, as they raced out to a 13-6 lead. The Wildcats got wo within 14-10, and then 18-14, but then the Lions finished off the set on a 7-1 run, including the final five points to force a fifth set, 25-15.
The Lions led by two points on multiple occasions early in the fifth, with the final time at 8-7. Mandy Behiels started a 5-0 run with a kill, spanning a pair of Georgian Court timeouts as well. A red card on the Lions' bench pushed the game from 10-8 to 11-8, and then a big solo block by Jess Connelly had the score at 12-8. The teams traded points before a kill from Elly Collins gave the Wildcats match point, 14-10. A final Lions' error gave the Wildcats the match, 15-10.
Heather Pedrick picked up her ninth triple-double of the year with 12 kills, 21 assists, and 12 digs while Dorie Moore led the charge at the net with nine blocks, five of which were of the solo variety. Mandy Behiels led the team with 13 kills while Angel Oliver had 12 kills with four blocks. Katie Bushong dished out a team high 22 assists while Elly Collins led the team with 20 digs.
The Wildcats wrap up the regular season with a road game against Felician in a cross divisional contest on Saturday. The opening serve is set for 1:00 p.m.