The Ursuline volleyball team was thrilled to end the school’s championship drought last November. A lasting reminder hangs in the gymnasium, but the players are trying to look forward, not back.
“It was super-amazing to win and to get that payoff that we put in during the season, but I don’t think that changed the work ethic we put in now,” junior hitter Corinne Furey said. “Yeah, I think we’re getting a few extra stares here and there, but that just motivates us to go back to step one. We have to put in just as much work as everyone else.”
Fortunately for them, most of the players from last season have returned. Furey is joined up front by seniors such as Abby Rzucidlo and Grace Nordmeyer — who missed all of last season with an injury — along with juniors Kylie Nocket and Emma Popham. The back line features Sydney Davis, while Markel and Lauren Boysen both spent time as the setter last year. The lone freshman to make the varsity last season, Avery Brown, also returns.
Furey said to also look out for defender and setter Maria Kennedy, while Markel is excited to see Kaitlin Burns and Emma Raftovich. Those three are up from the junior varsity. A senior transfer, Bridget Ward, also will be wearing the red and black this season.
“I think we’re really excited to face the challenges this year. As a new team, we’re able to work together and really put on a good show,” Markel said.
If they do defend their crown, the Raiders will have earned it. Aside from home-and-homes with the three other Catholic Conference teams, Ursuline meets six tournament teams of the other eight against Delaware opponents. Furey loves the competition and talked about a few of the road trips the team will make.
“It’s definitely great to have a nice mix of the other teams like Archmere and DMA and a new addition, Tower Hill. They all have really great gyms and atmospheres that will help with our ability to perform under pressure,” she said.
Markel loves the home cooking the Raiders enjoy in their cozy and crazy gym, where their fellow students usually show up in big numbers and with loud voices.
“I think that really puts the pressure on those teams. Even though they bring their student sections, I think that we can outcheer them and bring the energy for each game,” Markel said.
Whether that talent and fan support results in another state title will be known in a few months.
Home matches in CAPS
Sept. 17, 7:15 p.m.: at St. Elizabeth
Sept. 21, 7 p.m.: at Tower Hill
Sept. 25, 7:15 p.m.: FRIENDS
Sept. 27, 7:15 p.m.: at St. Mark’s
Sept. 29: at Bishop Shanahan (Pa.) Tri-Meet
Oct. 1, 7:15 p.m.: ST. ELIZABETH
Oct. 3, 7 p.m.: PADUA
Oct. 10, 7 p.m.: at Delaware Military Academy
Oct. 12, 6:30 p.m.: at Newark Charter
Oct. 15, 7 p.m.: APPOQUINIMINK
Oct. 18, 6:15 p.m.: WILMINGTON CHARTER
Oct. 23, 6:15 p.m.: at Archmere
Oct. 25, 7:15 p.m.: at Padua
Oct. 27, 1:45 p.m.: ST. MARK’S