Seton Keough’s volleyball team has never been ranked as high as they are this season, but they seem to be enjoying the view from near the top.
The No. 3 ranked Gators (8-0) got a scare Wednesday evening, but rallied from being down two games to one against St. Paul’s (4-3) on Wednesday evening, for a 14-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19, 15-9 victory.
It was their eighth straight victory to start the season.
The win surpassed last year’s victory total when the Gators finished 7-11.
Seton Keough senior Ijeoma Igwe (38 kills) and St. Paul’s sophomore Jillian Randolph (24 kills) were the dominant hitters on a night that featured back-and-forth runs from both teams.
Sophomore Kendall Burkette (9 kills), junior Cassidy Crossland (7 kills) and junior setter Amanda Blank (45 assists) also contributed offensively for the Crusaders.
But, it was the Gators who had the pivotal runs in games four and five.
Tied at 6-6 in game four, they scored six of the next seven points to take a 13-7 lead and they never looked back.
Senior setter Rachel Robinson, who had 36 assists in a 25-17, 25-13, 25-18 in a win over Bishop McNamara on Monday, had 48 against St. Paul's, including a clutch back row assist to Igwe to spark the surge.
It was one of nine kills during the fourth game by Igwe.
In the final game, the Gators raced to a 10-4 lead on the strength of strong passing from Jeni Ford and Briana Stiner and solid serving from Bosong Titanji.
They never trailed and Igwe ended the match with a kill.
But, it was a play, with the Gators clinging to a 14-13 lead in the second game, that got the Gators going.
Igwe praised that pancake save of a point — by Rachel Pollock that led to an Emily Burgess kill — for turning the match around.
“When we get one of those points, it picks everyone up,” Igwe said. “We make a great play and it drives us to get better and keep focusing.”
Seton Keough coach SJ Greenway praised the defensive play of the Crusaders and coach Kelli Wilkinson with keeping his offense out of rhythm in the first game.
“You always know she is going to have one heckuva defense,”Greenway said. “She executes and gets the most out of every one of her players.”