With a spot in the state title match on the line, top-seeded Padua jumped out to a two-game lead on fourth-seeded St. Mark’s but saw its advantage evaporate over the next two games in Mill Creek.
The Pandas and Spartans waged a battle in the final game, matching each other point for point throughout before Padua found a way to get two more points than St. Mark’s in the frame for a 15-13 to take the match in the semifinals of the DIAA Volleyball Tournament.
“All these thoughts and excitements. I think everyone was thinking one point at a time. We had to capitalized on what we were strong at,” Allyson Jennings said. “That’s how we won this game. We stayed strong through it all.”
The Pandas, who won the state title last year, won the first game 25-20 by scoring the last six points to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second game was tight throughout, with neither team building a lead of more than four points before Padua (18-0) found a way to earn a 29-27 win to move one game away from the state title game.
The Spartans (12-4) extended the match with a 25-20 win in game three, and they continued to stave off elimination with a 25-22 win in the fourth to send the match to the fifth frame.
The final game featured five ties and was tied at 9 coming out of a St. Mark’s timeout, and the Pandas scored back-to-back points to take a two-point lead. They held the Spartans at bay to earn a championship match with 11th-seeded Tower Hill.
“Being in the state final is ridiculous. We’re so excited,” said Jennifer Borio. “This means that our hard work is paying off. It’s just great.”