The Delmarva Christian girls’ volleyball team opened the 2023 season against the same opponent as last year – Cape Henlopen. The Royals lost the opener last year, but flipped the script Sept. 8.
“They came in last year and beat us, and we came back and beat them this year, setting the tone for the season,” said Royals coach Mike Zampini.
The victory over the Vikings was hard-earned. Cape struck first with an emphatic eight-point win in the first set.
“It was a little scary, but we came back three or four times from them having the lead, so we kept our energy up, and I had faith the whole time we could come back,” said Royals junior Elaina Millaway.
An electric atmosphere from start to finish, the Royals were able to settle down in the second set with a seven-point victory.
“We talked about making every touch of the ball a positive touch, knowing ahead of time what you want to do the the ball and in doing that, succeeding.” Coach Zampini said about his adjustments
In an epic, back-and-forth third set, the Royals took victory 25-23. Coming from behind, it appeared to shift the momentum to the Royals. The Vikings, however, battled back in the fourth set to force a fifth set.
“To put six new kids against a team of that caliber and a player of that caliber in Elaina, I’m happy with our effort and intention,” said Cape coach Tyler Coupe.
The teams exchanged leads before the score was eventually tied at 8-8. The Royals then pulled away.
“I told the team they showed a lot of character tonight,” Zampini said.
Millaway, a 2022 first-team all-state selection, collected her match-high 23rd kill on the 14th point of the match.
The Royals won the final set 15-10 and the match 3-2.
Delmarva Christian received 14 kills from junior Taylor Lowe, 28 digs from senior Tobi Robinson, 31 assists from junior Layni Dukes and 18 assists from senior Maggie Kwiatkowski, who also had five aces.
Junior Ava Calciano led the Vikings with 11 kills and 12 digs. Senior Emily Cook tallied 17 digs, junior Brielle Ross collected 13 digs and senior Montana Jones added 12 digs. Junior Emerson Smith had 26 assists.
Royals will host Newark Charter at 5:15 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14, while the Vikings travel to Woodbridge Tuesday, Sept. 12 for their next match.