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Bringing volleyball title back to Ursuline would mean ‘literally everything’

By

Dialog reporter

 

Hopes and expectations are high at Ursuline, where the Raiders are chasing their first state championship since 2009. The team returns nearly all of its roster from last season, when they went 11-4 in the regular season and 14-5 overall, falling in the state championship match in a heartbreaking five sets to Delaware Military Academy.

The chase begins Saturday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. at Delmar.

Ursuline was hard at work this summer getting ready for the 2017 season. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

“I am so excited for this year,” libero Sam Davis said. “We have a lot of younger kids, and we’re going to work hard every day. I’m super-excited to see how we meet everybody’s expectations. I think we’re going to be held to a really high standard.”

Coach Sue Heiss brings back a wealth of talent up front, giving the Raiders height that rivals any of its opponents. The outside hitters include sophomores Corinne Furey and senior Taylor Wright, and middles Abby Rzucidlo and Kylie Nocket each have another year of experience.

Davis anchors the defense. The 5-6 senior has carried on the Raiders’ trademark of tenacious back-line play. Heiss does have new setters this season, as Cassidy Markel and Lauren Boysen will be responsible for getting the ball to the bigs.

Davis said the Raiders got to work as soon as practice started in August getting ready for the season.

“Everyone’s trying to win, but our expectations this year are to go into practice every day and work as hard as we can, and hopefully that will transfer over and help us succeed,” she said.

Heiss said she doesn’t expect her team to rest on last year’s laurels.

“You have to keep them focused, but this year’s team is not last year’s team,” she said. “You have to build that team chemistry and that trust in each other. It’s not just skill. A team has to improve together as you go through the season.”

The schedule for Ursuline is its normal brutal self. The Raiders have Catholic Conference foes Padua and St. Mark’s twice each, and they will face DMA, Newark Charter, Appoquinimink and Archmere at home, and Delmar, Wilmington Friends and Wilmington Charter on the road.

“We have a hard schedule. We picked up a team from New Jersey, so we’re looking forward to that. We want to push ourselves. Our goal every game is to improve, so that’s what we’re working toward,” Heiss said.

Winning the Raiders’ first state championship since 2009 would mean “literally everything. Just to bring the championship back to Ursuline, it’s been a couple of years,” Davis said.

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