Hey, Dover, we heard you. Let’s talk about the Senators.
Dover is 4-0 heading into this week, with all four victories coming on the road. After opening with a sweep of the sixth-ranked Caravel, Dover moved to 4-0 after defeating No. 5 Delmarva Christian, 3-1, on Sept. 16 in Georgetown. Three of the four sets were decided by the minimum two points, including a 30-28 second-set marathon that gave the Senators a 2-0 lead.
The Senators were led on the attack by Elizabeth Baughman and Mila Mistead. Reese Culver has patrolled the back line, and Jasmine Hallum is getting the job done as the setter. Baughman, Milstead and Culver are all seniors, giving Dover an experienced core group. They finally play their home opener on Tuesday against Milford before making their second and final trip to New Castle County on Thursday at Wilmington Charter.
The Ursuline Raiders completed a season-opening three-match road trip undefeated, including a 3-1 win over top-ranked Tower Hill. Their reward is five straight at home beginning Monday against Camden Catholic (N.J.). The Raiders are getting outstanding play from a number of players, including hitters Caitlyn McGonigal and C.C. DeCaro.
Odessa is 2-0 with a busy week looming. They have three matches, including Appoquinimink School District rivals Appoquinimink on Wednesday and Middletown on Friday.
Matches to watch this week: Delaware Military at Newark Charter, Tuesday, 6:15 p.m.; Smyrna at Caesar Rodney, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.; Saint Mark’s at Padua, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.; Archmere at Ursuline, Wednesday, 6pm; Dover at Wilmington Charter, Thursday, 5:15 p.m.; Delmarva Christian at Ursuline, Friday, 5:15 p.m.; Cape Henlopen at Newark Charter, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
No. 1 Smyrna is not just winning, it’s dominating. The Eagles have not lost a set since its first of the season, a 26-24 decision at Archmere. In their other 12 sets, they haven’t given up more than 18 points. They played just once this week, at fellow undefeated Caesar Rodney.
No. 2 Saint Mark’s had a test against Wilmington Charter at home on Sept. 15. The Force took a set and pushed the second to 30-28, but the Spartans rebounded for big wins in the last two sets. The Spartans have a trip to Padua on the schedule this week, a match that always generates a lot of buzz.
No. 3 Archmere took to the road for the first time, including a showdown at No. 4 Ursuline on Wednesday. The senior duo of Ceci Connolly and Katie Kuehl are a great one-two punch, but the Auks have plenty of others who are keys to their success.
No. 4 Ursuline overcame the heat inside Carpenter Field House in a 3-1 win over Tower Hill as the Raiders continued to impress. They’ll be tested over the next few weeks as their five-match home stand includes Archmere, Delmarva Christian, Saint Mark’s and Padua. Yikes.
No. 5 Tower Hill did not play poorly against Ursuline, and they are in great position for a sustained run of success after a bounce-back win at Sanford. Lydia Spencer continues to announce her presence as one of the premier hitters in the state.
No. 6 Newark Charter picked up a win at Delmarva Christian last week, and they will open their home schedule with visits from Delaware Military and Caesar Rodney this week. The Patriots have shown remarkable balance thus far, with the entire roster contributing.
No. 7 Dover breaks into the top 10 with the two wins mentioned above. The Senators have lots of home cooking coming up, with five of the next six at their place. They deserve lots of support from the community.
No. 8 Padua may be 1-2, but the Pandas definitely belong on this list. They are playing a who’s who of Delaware’s best high school teams and holding their own. The issue is that they have little breathing room the rest of the season; every match could be on a list of those to watch.
No. 9 Wilmington Charter crashes the top 10 after an impressive effort at Saint Mark’s. The Force have Miranda Ting and Seraphina Pabian giving opponents headaches on the front line. They have to be careful not to look past Diamond State foe Conrad on Tuesday before Dover comes knocking on Thursday.
No. 10 Caravel is hanging in there in the top 10 after a pair of wins last week. The Buccaneers have just one match this week and have four of the next five at home.
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