It seemed as if No. 2 St. Mark’s was on track to sweep A.I. du Pont’s volleyball team in a nonconference battle Tuesday night.
The Tigers avoided that outcome from happening when it picked up the third game victory. But the Spartans’ Peyton Reno sealed the 3-1 win (25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 25-17) when she scored the last three Spartan points with three of her 17 kills.
After St. Mark’s (10-1) earned the first game, A.I. took a 16-14 lead in the second with a Sydney MacDonald kill. The freshman finished with 12 on the day. The Spartans then scored three straight points on Claudia Seemans’ serve, including a monster kill from Reno to take the 19-18 lead.
St. Mark’s held on to the advantage after that point, and Reno closed out the second game when she placed the ball perfectly down the right sideline.
“Anything I can do to help my team, but a kill just adds a little more excitement to it,” Reno said.
In the third game, things got a little more exciting.
The Spartans and the Tigers exchanged six early deadlocked points before A.I. took the lead. The Tigers led by as many as eight, but the Spartans contributed a slight run to bring the score within four toward the end of the game. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as a determined Courtney MacDonald made one of her 20 kills the game winner.
“I’ve never seen more relentless pursuit from the team as a whole,” said A.I. assistant coach Lauren Burke.
“Winning or losing, competing is still what we find most important…as long as we compete, we can walk away proud and I think that’s what we did today.”
Although the Spartans dropped the previous game, they jumped out to a 6-2 lead when Abbie Mirabella and Addison Reich hit back-to-back kills.
“[Coach Nancy Griskowitz] told us we have to keep our heart in it, stay positive and communicate,” said Seemans, who added 54 assists, 22 digs and two aces in the game. “They’re a very good team, very good at tipping the ball and placing it well, so we had to learn how to pick it up.”
A.I. (8-3) never found an opportunity to edge the Spartans in the final game, and St. Mark’s extended its seven-game winning streak.
The Spartans have only lost to Padua this season and have a chance for revenge next Tuesday.
“Padua is known for their hitters and known for their defense, so we have to really be smart with the ball,” said Reno.
Mirabella led the Spartans with 24 kills and three aces.