Delmarva Christian volleyball upends Sussex Academy 3-1

Seahawks take first set; Royals rattle off three in a row for win
April 15, 2024

An emotionally charged Sussex Academy boys’ volleyball team won the first set against its local rival Delmarva Christian, but the Royals brushed it off to claim a 3-1 victory.

“I think that adrenaline and focus was key in the first set,” said Seahawks coach Hailee Gooch.

Royals coach Mike Zampini commended the Seahawks for being prepared to play in the first set but thinks the team’s close loss the night before to Odyssey Charter may have played a role in the sluggish start.

“I think the guys might have been a little bit tired, but I think they came in here very relaxed thinking that the way they're playing, they're just going to whup them, and then they realized that Sussex Academy wanted to play,” Zampini said.

Delmarva Christian’s outside hitters – Seth Mifflin and Harrison Schlabac – woke up in the second set and began attacking the net with vigor. Mifflin recorded 11 kills, while Schlabac led the team with 13. Zampini liked their aggression.

“That's what I want, but I want them to be smart about it,” Zampini said. “A lot of times, they just want to swing to kill, and it's not the perfect set to do that. They're learning how to adjust to the different sets.”

Gooch noted that one of the Seahawks' outside hitters, Desmond Davis, was out with an injury, leaving Sussex Academy shorthanded. Helping set up the Royals’ thunderous kills were Ethan Fels with 23 assists and James Baxter with a team-high 27. Delmarva Christian cruised through the next two sets and had a commanding lead in the fourth set to allow the Royals to put their rivals to bed.

Schlabach clinched the victory for Delmarva Christian in the fourth set on a finesse kill past a duo of Sussex Academy blockers. He credited his refined approach for his success throughout the match and on the game-winning point.

“I wasn’t getting far away enough from the net [earlier in the season],” Schlabach said. “When I backed it off, I could get my timing right and get that ball down.”

He used his vision to collect the game-winning kill.

“​​I just saw a hole, saw the two on the line, and I just tried to hit it hard,” Schlabach said.


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