Sarah Donnelly is far from the tallest player on the court, but she played like a giant on Saturday night.
The 5-foot-7 senior had seven kills, four aces, 12 digs and 10 assists as second-seeded Archmere breezed past No. 15 Wilmington Friends 3-0 in the opening round of the DIAA Volleyball Tournament at Archmere. The game scores were 25-16, 25-11 and 25-18.
“As coach says, I keep my elbow high,” Donnelly said. “I’ve increased my vertical [leap], but I’m not very tall. I think my other sports [basketball, softball and swimming] have definitely helped me.”
The Auks (13-3) will meet 10th-seeded Concord in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mark’s. The Quakers finished their season at 6-10.
“The kids were focused. They showed heart and hustle,” Archmere coach Mary Pat Kwoka said. “Friends is an awesome team, and we knew we were going to have a difficult match. The kids played hard, they hustled, and they played with their hearts.”
Friends got off to a good start, as a diving dig by Maria Delzingaro flew over the net and found an open spot for an 8-6 lead in the first game. But Archmere scored 16 of the next 19 points to put it away.
“We went into this feeling strong,” the Auks’ Alexa Spence said. “We knew it would be a tough match, because Friends is really good. They came out really strong, and we knew we had to play.”
Archmere had a balanced attack, as Regan Bice had eight kills, Amanda Olsen added five kills and Kaylie Leclere chipped in seven digs and 14 assists. Spence, a senior defensive specialist, kept the Auks solid in the back with 10 digs.
“I’ve been practicing so long, since fourth grade, so I’ve grown up with it,” Spence said of her role. “I know what to do and where to go. As one of the captains, I try hard to support the team from the bottom up.”
Cassidy Martin had eight kills and nine digs for the Quakers. Delaney Lee added seven kills and 18 digs, Alyssa Nathan had 11 digs and 19 assists, and Katrina Skibicki contributed 12 digs.