FORCE FIND A GROOVE

FORCE FIND A GROOVE

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FORCE FIND A GROOVE

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When the Concord Raiders volleyball team entered Wednesday’s match at the Charter School of Wilmington, it did so without dropping a set this season.

The Force immediately broke that streak. And after winning a tight opening game 25-22, Charter held on to the first game’s momentum to defeat No. 3 Concord 3-0 in a Blue Hen Flight A matchup.

“This is only the fourth game of the year, but by far this is the best in terms of attacking and defending,” said Charter’s coach Dave Stover. “Good teams play at the same level. It doesn’t matter if they’re up by 10 or down by 10, it’s the same consistency, and it was really nice to see.”

Concord is now 2-1, while Charter improved to 4-0 and will face another conference competitor in Appoquinimink on Friday evening. The Raiders play at No. 2 Padua on Friday.

The first game Wednesday was tied 15 times before No. 5 Charter gained some breathing room. Charter’s Elizabeth Marcin made her presence felt in the first game, winning the longest rally of the match with one of her 16 kills to lift the Force to a 17-16 edge. Marcin also closed out the first game, after putting something extra on a return that the Raiders struck into the net.

Concord opened the second game with a point on Anna Spartz’s serve, but the game broke open when Charter’s Jordan Schoeneberger earned an ace to give the Force the 17-11 edge. Schoeneberger led the Force with six blocks and 12 digs.

“We had tons of energy, and we always do playing against Concord,” said Schoeneberger, the lone senior on the Force team. “The energy dictates our game, and we just played really well together.”

With the Force up 23-14, Concord made a slight run on Abigail Dischert’s serve, but Charter’s Olivia DiMaio secured the second game 25-19 with a cross-court kill. Concord’s Dischert led her team with 10 kills.

The final game also was competitive in the beginning, but it fell out of reach when Kelsey Mayhew dished to DiMaio for another kill to the outside to give the Force a 16-10 advantage.

Errors and miscommunication hurt the Raiders as they dropped the third game.

“We’ve been looking forward to this game for a long time and preparing for weeks, so we knew we had to come out strong,” said Mayhew, who tallied 31 assists. “I’m proud of everyone for hustling, and every girl played their heart out.”

Last year, Concord beat Charter in straight sets, so Stover changed his game plan by putting all his big players up front against a tall Emily Panchak.

“Charter’s always a well coached team, and they just brought their game tonight,” said Concord coach Ray Helie. “We started off strong and let up in game two and game three, and we just didn’t have an answer to their outside line attacks.”

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