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Wildcats Can’t Finish Off the Bears as Bloomfield Sneaks Away with 3-2 Victory in CACC Volleyball Semifinals

Photo of Mandy Behiels in the CACC Tournament Semifinals. Photo taken by Ellen O'Brien
Photo of Mandy Behiels in the CACC Tournament Semifinals. Photo taken by Ellen O'Brien

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - Searching for their first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship appearance since 2012, the Wilmington University volleyball team fell just short in five sets to Bloomfield, holding match point before falling in the Semifinals in the Wellness Center at Georgian Court.

Set scores for the Wildcats were 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 16-25, and 15-17.

Finding themselves down 1-0, the Wildcats (21-13) won the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead. But the Wildcats fell flat in the fourth and then nearly made a stunning late game comeback in the fifth, but Bloomfield (14-8) recovered and won the final three points of the match.

The fifth set was the ultimate back and forth set, as the Wildcats jumped out early. Tied, 1-1, a Heather Pedrick kill, back-to-back Bear errors, and a Pedrick ace gave the Wildcats a 5-1 lead. The teams went back and forth, but a Bear service error gave the Wildcats a n 8-4 lead. But the Bears battled back, scoring three straight to force the Wildcats into a timeout. Out the break, the Bears' run continued, scoring three more as Bloomfield took a 10-8 lead.

Dorie Moore ended the Bloomfield run with a kill, but the Wildcats couldn't string points together. The Bears got back-to-back kills to earn match point, 14-11, but the Wildcats wouldn't roll over. Angel Oliver put down a kill and then picked up a block to save a pair of match points. Out of a Bloomfield timeout, an error tied the match, 14-14, and then Mandy Behiels put down a kill to earn a match point of their own, 15-14. But that's as far as they would get, as Esther Dogbe put down back-to-back kills for her 28th and 29th terminations of the day to regain match point, 16-15. A Wildcat attack error would end the set, 17-15, and the match, 3-2.

The Wildcats hit .163 for the match with 48 kills and only 19 errors. They also had 72 digs while dominating the net again with 11 total blocks. The Bears had 77 kills while hitting .191 for the match, committing 38 errors. They had 99 digs, however, not allowing the Wildcat to find the floor as often as they'd like.

Mandy Behiels led the Wildcats with 17 kills while hitting .210, adding 10 digs for the double-double. Heather Pedrick and Jessica Connelly collected 10 kills each while Pedrick added 24 assists and eight digs. Angel Oliver put down eight kills to go with three solo blocks and three block assists. Elly Collins led the back row with 26 digs.

The Bears' Esther Dogbe put down 29 kills with only nine errors, hitting .377 for the match. Lauryn Hansford dished out 64 assists while Sophia Wintonick le the Bears' backrow with 28 digs.

The N#1 Bears advance to play the S#3 Jefferson Rams in the CACC Tournament Championship on Sunday. The Rams defeated S#1 and overall top seed Holy Family in five sets as well, 3-2.