Delta High School's volleyball team finally got a chance to play against another team. The Panthers were at last weekend's Gunnison Invitational where they competed against Olathe and Cedaredge.
The Panthers defeated Olathe and Gunnison by identical scores of 3-1, raising their overall record to 2-0 for the young season.
Delta 3, Olathe 1
Delta opened its 2015 volleyball campaign with a win over longtime rival Olathe at the Gunnison Invitational Tournament last Saturday.
The Panthers won the first set 25-14 and added the second set to the win column with a score of 25-18. Olathe turned the tables in set three with a 25-23 win.
Delta won the match by earning a 25-20 decision in the fourth set.
Shelbi Ledesma paced the Panthers with four service aces, with teammates Shanan Davey and newcomer Ashton Reese adding two aces apiece.
Reese added a big presence at the net with 18 kills to lead Delta's offense while Emily Baier hammered out 16 kills.
Emily Nortnik had two blocks and 36 assists to lead the Panthers in those categories.
Davey and Reese recorded 15 and 11 digs, respectively, in the match.
Delta 3, Cedaredge 1
Delta's second match was with a talented Cedaredge Bruins' team. According to coach Beth Nelson, "Both teams we played are good teams. Cedaredge has a strong middle and hits the ball well."
The Panthers eased to a 25-13 win in set one and held on for a 25-21 decision in the second set.
Cedaredge came back in the third set to prevent a sweep by outscoring Delta 25-20. The final set was well-played by both teams, with Delta claiming a 25-23 win for the match victory, 3-1.
Baier had three aces, with Davey and Ledesma adding two each for the Panthers.
Baier was also the Panthers' kill leader with 19 and Reese was next with 14 kills. "The .381 hitting percentage recorded by Baier was really good. You don't often see that high of a percentage," noted Nelson.
Nortnik's 36 assists led the Panthers' statistics for that category.
Davey finished the match with 23 digs and Reese added 12 more to the team totals.
When asked how it felt to finally get some play-time, Nelson said, "It was a great way to start, and it was good to play someone else for a change. There were some early-season errors we'll clean up. We had some first-game jitters. We'll make good adjustments before the next match."
The Panthers, because Nelson coached at Central High School before coming to Delta, were looking forward to their Sept. 8 contest against the Warriors, 1-3 in 5A/4A Southwestern League standings.
Delta is hosting a volleyball tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11, 12. Olathe is in town on Sept. 15 for matches at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.