The Oct. 10 volleyball game between Delmarva Christian and Dover was akin to an Ali vs. Frazier bout, where each team knocked down the other. But after the final set, the Royals had squeaked out a 19-25, 25-15, 18-25, 25-18 and 16-14 decision.
“It was a very hard-fought match,” said Royals head coach Jim Berger. ”Dover’s defense was incredible. It was a back-and-forth match full of runs by both teams. We were fortunate to get the last run.”
The Royals’ return of serve was key to their victory, according to Berger.
“Siera Jones had great service returns tonight,” said Berger. “She also played great defense.”
Jones was credited with eight digs in the match.
“We’re all definitely relieved that we got the win after five tough sets,” said Jones. “The match was a little frustrating for the team since our offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, and we had a few hiccups that made the match go a little longer than it probably should have, but I’m still super proud of the team.”
The senior libero gave kudos to her teammates for their togetherness.
“A few of our players were struggling tonight, but we had girls coming in off the bench who did great jobs. We all had each others’ backs even though we weren’t playing as well as we would have liked to. We were still really excited about the win, and I think the whole team did a great job digging deep and getting the job done in the end.”
Junior setter Ashlyn Stonebraker assisted on 31 points, while Hannah Picconi and Savannah Stewart knocked down 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
“Savannah was our best offensive player tonight,” said Berger. “She did the same when we beat Caravel.”
“I’m definitely happy that we won that game,” said senior captain Hannah Picconi. “I think we didn’t have a lot of energy in the first two sets of the game, but I think we began to increase the intensity after that. I also think we gave away too many points with unforced errors. Once we played smarter and kept the long rallies going, the game started to turn in our favor.”
The senior hitter was quick to praise the opponents.
“Dover was a very good defensive team, and they kept the ball in play,” said Picconi. “They didn’t give up on anything.”
The Royals move to 11-1 while Dover goes to 8-3.
The Royals take on the Mallards of Worcester Prep Friday, Oct. 12, in Berlin, Md.