BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – Delmar’s volleyball team and its energetic supporters traveled more than 100 miles on Nov. 5 to meet Ursuline in the second round at Brandywine High School, but, unfortuately for the Wildcats, the stay in northern New Castle County was short-lived. Ursuline, the No. 6 seed in the state tournament, was all business in dispatching No. 22 Delmar in a sweep. The set scores were 25-12, 25-17 and 25-11.
The Raiders came out swinging, getting a trio of kills from freshman Corinne Furey on their way to a 9-3 advantage. Delmar earned a temporary reprieve on an unforced error, but Ursuline followed with five straight. The first and last of those points came on kills courtesy of Kylie Nocket, one a tip, the other an unplayable smash.
Contributions came from all over the roster in that set. Cassidy Markel crushed one down the middle, and Abigail Rzucidlo tipped one over the Wildcats’ front line. Furey went down the left side to send it to set point, and after Delmar’s Brielle Johnson saved one set point, Furey ended things with another swing, sending the ball off the hands of a Wildcats defender.
The teams traded points to open the second, and Delmar – which advanced to the second round after upsetting No. 11 St. Thomas More on Thursday – took a 6-5 lead on a Raiders error. Ursuline bounced back with seven straight points, but Avery Wheatley capped a mini-run by the Wildcats to make it 12-9 Ursuline. The Wildcats hung close, but they could not overcome the deficit. Markel went cross-court for the clincher.
Taylor Wright began the final set by crushing one down the left side, and the Raiders were on their way. Markel posted consecutive aces to extend the lead to 4-0, and a couple of four-point runs helped grow that advantage to 16-7. Nocket sent it to match point with a tip, and the night concluded on a kill attempt that landed wide of the sideline.
These teams had met in Wilmington on Oct. 15, also a Raiders sweep, but Furey said she saw a different Wildcats team on Saturday.
“We had scouted Delmar the other night, and we had seen that they had grown as a team and that they had improved. We just wanted to play our game and put everything we had out on the court so we could hopefully extend our time in the tournament,” Furey said.
The Raiders (12-4) picked up 15 kills from Furey and eight from Wright. Sam Davis led the defense with 17 digs. Ursuline will meet Catholic Conference rival Padua on Tuesday at either St. Mark’s High School or the St. E Center in a quarterfinal battle.
The young Raiders, who have just two seniors on the roster, played the Pandas twice this season, and the second was a nail-biting five-setter at Padua on Oct. 27. That experience has really helped the Raiders, Furey said.
“Each time, we’ve grown as a team so much, so we’re just learning a lot. I think it will be a good match if we come out and do our jobs and play our game,” she said.
Delmar, the Henlopen Conference South champion, finished its season 9-8. Le’Zhane Holmes led the Wildcats with five kills, while Kelsie Hughes had 11 digs and Aizha Brown contributed six blocks.