It’s hard to make any conclusions based on four days of volleyball, but here’s what we see from the baseline. Let’s start with the 10th-ranked Ursuline Raiders, who are 2-0 after a win at DMA on Sept. 9. Big hitters up front, a quality setter in Hayley Timmons, and a typical Ursuline defense look pretty good. They needed four sets to down the Seahawks, but DMA won’t be an easy out for anyone. There’s just too much talent on that roster.
There was some good news out of Henlopen North last week. Caesar Rodney downed Appoquinimink, 3-1, with Elianna Dyer going for 16 kills and 10 blocks. Second-ranked Smyrna opened with a big win at No. 4 Archmere. Anna Richardson and Eliza Schneider went for 18 and 17 kills, respectively, and Abigayle Osborne had 41 assists. And Dover opened its campaign with an impressive sweep at No. 6 Caravel.
Top-ranked Tower Hill looked ready to defend its state title after a sweep at No. 9 Padua. Lydia Spencer had herself a night with 17 kills. And the first five-setter of the season took place in Lewes. Fifth-ranked Delmarva Christian got 23 kills from Elaina Millaway as the Royals edged Cape Henlopen.
Congratulations: To Aspira High School, which earned a 3-0 win over Seaford in the program’s first varsity match.
Matches to watch this week: DMA at Wilmington Charter, Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. Ursuline at Tower Hill, Tuesday at 5:!5 p.m. Newark Charter at Delmarva Christian, Thursday at 5:15 p.m. Cape Henlopen at Smyrna, Thursday at 5:15 p.m. Padua at Archmere, Thursday at 6 p.m. Wilmington Charter at Saint Mark’s, Friday at 7:15 p.m. Dover at Delmarva Christian, Saturday at noon.
No. 1 Tower Hill has its home opener on Tuesday against Ursuline. They’ll be playing in Carpenter Field House. Will they lose some of that home cooking? Tower is 16-4 in Weaver Gymnasium the last three seasons.
No. 2 Smyrna overcame a loss in the first set to defeat Archmere. They have defending Henlopen South champ Indian River on the road before hosting Cape Henlopen and Sussex Academy during a busy week.
No. 3 Saint Mark’s has to not look past Brandywine before a home match against Wilmington Charter on Friday. The Spartans have a deep roster, and all of them were able to get game action in their opener.
No. 4 Delmarva Christian passed its first test, the aforementioned road win at Cape. The Royals play 10 of their remaining 14 matches at home, beginning this week with battles against Newark Charter and Dover.
No. 5 Archmere falls just a few places after a tough loss to Smyrna. They face up-and-coming MOT Charter on Tuesday before longtime rival Padua comes knocking on Thursday.
No. 6 Ursuline looks like they are more comfortable in year two under coach Jen Johnson. They’ll need to be near their best on Tuesday at Tower Hill in what should be a fun afternoon of volleyball.
No. 7 Newark Charter is one of 11 teams among 56 sponsoring volleyball this season that has not played yet, but the Patriots have two matches this week, both on the road. They cannot overlook First State Military, Tuesday’s foe, before traveling to Delmarva Christian. The battle between Newark Charter’s Kennedy Pavlekovich and the Royals’ Elaina Millaway has the potential to be special.
No. 8 Padua rebounded with a win at St. Elizabeth. Getting setter Kaitlyn Leberstien back for that match was promising; she missed the Tower Hill game. They’ll need all of their weapons at Archmere, their lone match this week.
No. 9 Delaware Military showed a lot of moxie against Ursuline after falling behind, 2-0. This is a team that will never quit on a point. They have a lot of talented athletes; keep an eye on the lone freshman, Tara Batula.
No. 10 Caravel was stunned at home by Dover, a team that has been pretty good the past few years. Fortunately for the Buccaneers, they only have to wait until Tuesday to go for their first win when they visit Tatnall.
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