Cape boys’ volleyball wins state title

Vikings upset top-seeded Salesianum to win DIAA’s first tournament
May 23, 2023

Cape upset top-seeded and previously undefeated Salesianum May 23 to win the DIAA’s first sanctioned boys’ volleyball state tournament in just the Vikings’ third season of competition.

Cape won 25-23, 25-17, 25-19 to earn a decisive three-set victory over the Sals.

Cape setter Talan Stephens spread the ball around to his hitters, garnering 33 assists. Senior Dylan Henry stepped up and knocked down 11 kills. Brady Lamb, Charlie Casas, Odin Potemski and Billy Cerf spiked seven, six, five and four kills, respectively.

"It means so much to be the first sanctioned DIAA champs," said Henry. "We've been working on our game — hard work day after day — and we finally got it. It feels so rewarding. After the first set, I told myself, we're two sets away from winning this. The second set I'm sitting on the bench and said this is about to happen, and the third set I'm on the court and I just can't believe it."

"I'm so happy right now," said Cerf. "It's such a great experience. Something I never dreamed of ever and it's here. It's like a slap in the face, but a good slap, ya know? It's amazing."

Sophomore Kieran Morrissey showed inspiration on the service line, winning points and giving his classmates in the stands something to cheer about.

Casas, Potemski, Lamb and Stephens all served an ace.

Senior Niko Panyko bumped six digs for the Vikings and held Player of the Year Cody Popp to just three kills in the match.

"It's crazy," said Panyko. "We just did a really good job tonight. We are all proud of what we've just done."

"It's awesome," said Potemski. "State championship with my friends. No better way to do it. We trusted ourselves, we trusted each other and we all stepped up to the occasion. Everyone played great. Nothing better, man."

"Excitement, excitement," Lamb shouted over the celebrating crowd. "This is the best experience of my life. We're getting that ring. I can't wait."

"I'm thinking how incredibly lucky we are to have the community that we have," said Cape head coach Tyler Coupe. “To have a school board trust us, an athletic department trust us, an administration trust us. To have these boys trust us as coaches in a new sport for them and buy into something that we've been preaching for three years. It's so awesome. This is the greatest community in the state for sports. They are hungry and they want to compete every day. That's why we are here."

The No. 2 Vikings posted a 14-1 record this season. The only loss came April 14, when they fell 3-0 to Sallies.

Cape defeated Sussex Academy and Newark Charter in the first two rounds of the tournament, both by 3-0 scores. The Vikings then slipped past Charter School of Wilmington 3-2 to advance to the state championship against Sallies. Prior to the semifinals, Sallies had not lost a single set the entire season. They won 3-1 over Delaware Military Academy to advance to the finals.

Coupe graduated from Sallies in 2011 and was Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.


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