The fans at neutral site Newark Charter gymnasium got their money’s worth Nov. 2, as the Cape volleyball squad took the Quakers to the limit in the second round of the DIAA State Volleyball Tournament, falling 15-11 in the fifth and final set after clawing back from two sets down.
The 24th-seeded Wilmington Friends squad, who defeated Smyrna 3-2 Oct. 31 in the first round, took a 25-23, 26-24 two-set advantage over Cape, but the Lady Vikings did not fall easily, fighting back to tie the match with third- and fourth-set wins of 25-21 and 25-23 setting up the intense fifth set.
”I’m proud of the girls,” said Cape head coach Tyler Coupe. “I think it’s been our MO as a team this year. We’ve been down in a match and a set like that, and they’ve always found a way to push through and fight for it. I’m extremely happy with my team. It sucks. Losing always sucks. But I’m not upset with my team. I’m not disappointed in them. They fought hard. They played the game we wanted to tonight. A couple of things that usually don’t go in our favor did tonight, and a couple of plays that usually go in our favor didn’t tonight. Sometimes the volleyball gods have funny ways of acting. They are better than their 24 seed. It stinks and it should stink. There were a lot of tears in the locker room, and I’m not upset that they were upset. I’d be more concerned if they weren’t upset. Our kids played their hearts out.”
Abbey Derrickson and Alyssa Whaley teamed for 37 assists in the match. Emily Lamb, who has nearly 600 digs in her career, put up 20 digs. Rileigh Wilson knocked down 17 kills, while Simran Patel, Bre Kusen, Katie Knarr and Madison Mahoney teamed for 25 kills. Derrickson, Whaley, Teaghan Van Brunt and the Kusens served a total of 12 aces.
Natalie Bush had 51 assists for the Quakers. Abigail Carian and Jocelyn Nathan teamed for 41 digs.
“We definitely came further than we ever did before, and I’m really proud of everyone,” Patel said. “We kept our heads up through the whole season, even when things didn’t go our way. Next year, this team has a lot of potential, and I’m going to miss them a lot.”
“Two sets down and coming back was awesome,” Derrickson said. “We weren’t super super strong in that aspect, so it was really exciting to see that. This is one heck of a team. We fought really hard, and we’ve made it further than we ever did before, and I’m really proud of us. It stinks that it had to end so soon. This team returning is headed in the right direction.”
“I’m extremely proud of this team for not giving up,” Van Brunt said. “We just kept our heads up and kept fighting, like Coupe tells us, to keep moving forward.”
“We can learn from this and come back strong for next year,” Lamb said. “We were really excited after winning the third and fourth set, and we knew we could beat them if we played our hardest. We just came up a little short.”
“There is a lot of play in those girls,” said assistant coach Vince Falilla. “At this point in the season, everyone is gritty, and that’s how it should be.”
The Lady Vikings finished their 2019 season at 9-6.