By Logan Brandon • Sports Editor • 

Dayton volleyball defeats rival Amity in straight sets

 DAYTON – Led by Shawnie Spink's 12 kills, Dayton prevailed in straight sets over rival Amity tonight, 27-25, 25-10, 25-7. The Pirates overcame three set points during the first game, rallying from down 21-24 to claim the opening win.


Dayton raced to a quick advantage in the first, with Ani Heidt staking her team to a 8-2 lead with three aces. After Amity captured the edge at 12-11 on Riley Stearns' kill down the middle, the Pirates retook the lead on Spink's two straight spikes.


However, the Warriors rode a surge of momentum to an 18-14 lead as a result of Emily Maples' two aces and Kathryn McMullen's enormous kill.


With the Warriors leading 20-15, the set appeared theirs for the taking. Unfortunately, a rash of hitting errors and miscommunication allowed the home team to tie the game at 20. Callee Roberts broke the Amity slump with an ace and a kill to make it a 23-20 margin. Maples then blocked a shot and Ani Keliiheleua threw down a massive kill to put the Warriors on the brink of a surprising win.


Alas, Dayton displayed tremendous mental strength to bounce back and deny the Warriors their three set points.


First Spink blasted a kill off a block, then an Amity hitting error narrowed the gap to 24-23. Spink struck again with a perfectly place drop shot knotting the score at 24. Stearns recorded point number 25 for Amity with a kill, but Spink answered with one of her own. An untimely Amity lift call delivered Dayton a 26-25 edge, and yet another Warrior hitting error resulted in a stunning 27-25 Pirate victory.


Following the dramatic initial game, the Warriors appeared to lack the fire which placed them on the cusp of a win in the first. As a result, the Pirates cruised to a 14-4 lead in the second set. Kennedy Shilhanek proved lethal as a middle blocker for the home team, crushing three kills and blocking two shots.


Keliiheleua's tip shot and a Dayton hitting error trimmed the deficit to 15-8, but the Pirates rode the Shilhanek and Kalina Rojas (five kills, two blocks) combination to an impressive 25-10 triumph.


While McMullen attempted to rally her team in the deciding set with soaring kills and forceful blocks, the Dayton defense locked down the Warrior offense en route to the 25-7 conquest. Spink padded her kill total with four more in the final game.


Aside from her 12 kills, she added two aces to her offensive game. Rojas added nine kills and three blocks, Malina Ray recorded eight kills and an ace and Heidt notched four aces and a kill.


For Amity, McMullen's five kills, two blocks and two aces led the way, while Keliiheleua chipped in with five kills and two blocks. Riley Stearns added four kills and two blocks.


Dayton (13-5, 12-1 WVL) concludes its regular season at Horizon Christian next Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.


Amity (4-13, 2-11 WVL) rounds out its year hosting Taft Tuesday night at 6.



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