By Sean Greene 1:25am, October 12, 2012
VIDEO: Highlights of the game, plus interviews with Mirabella and TalleyAbbie Mirabella's 20th kill of the night proved to be the difference as St. Mark's rallied for a 3-2 victory over Padua in a battle of unbeaten teams Thursday night.
St. Mark's (9-0) had only lost 1 set all season, but found themselves in a deep hole, trailing 2-sets-to-1 and 21-18 before a fierce fourth set rally which featured 3 Mirabella kills and a block by Lauren Talley which set up the set point.
After falling behind 5-3 in the deciding 5th set, Mirabella and Talley again combined for 5 kills, with Mirabella's clincher caroming off the block and to the floor to end the nearly 2:30 match 15-12.
Padua (9-1) had jumped ahead in the first set by capitalizing on several St. Mark's errors, but also getting back-to-back kills by Erica Engler and Sarah Landry to take a 21-19 lead. With the set tied at 23, Allyson Jennings was able to slam home a set by Sarah Cushing, and then another mis-hit by St. Mark's gave the Pandas a 1-0 lead.
The Pandas led 13-9 in the second set, before a 12-2 run turned the set around, including more fantastic play from Mirabella and Talley, along with a defense which combined for 86 digs on the night. Mirabella's spike off the block ended the set at 25-18 and tied it at one-set-all.
St. Mark's would be the aggressors in the 3rd set, jumping ahead 7-4, but a Cushing spike tied the match at 7. It would remain a close set until just after Talley's block made it 15-14 Padua, the last point before a 10-3 set-ending run put Padua ahead 2-1. At the time it seemed Padua had all the momentum, but the Spartans had all of the answers.
Mirabella finished with 20 kills and 10 digs for the Spartans, with Talley contributing 16 and 11 along with 5 blocks.
Padua had 3 players with fifteen or more kills: Landry (16), Borio (16), and Jennings (15).
The teams are due to meet again October 23 at St. Mark's.
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