Delta High School's volleyball team took a giant step toward a 3A WSL title with its 3-2 win against Coal Ridge on Sept. 24 in Delta.
Delta senior Emily Baier pounded 21 kills and had 36 digs for the Panthers (2-0 and 9-3) who are now the leaders in 3A WSL play. Coal Ridge (2-1, 4-2) slipped to second with Cedaredge (2-1, 5-5) sitting in third place. Grand Valley and Gunnison also have 2-1 league records.
Several Panthers provided supporting statistics in the key win for Delta. Joining Baier on the kills' list were junior Lexi Quinn and senior Dani Sakala who had six kills each. Quinn and senior Makayla Mills were solid from the service line with five aces apiece while senior Selbi Ledesma had 33 digs. Other double-digit digs went to Mills (23), Roberts (20), Quinn (16) and Nortnik (11). Nortnik was also busy dishing out 33 assists in the match.
The Panthers were dominant in set one as they rolled to a 25-13 win. Coal Ridge regrouped in set two and scored a 25-17 decision to even the match at 1-1.
Delta pulled ahead in the match (2-1) with a 25-21 win in set three but lost several chances to ice the fourth set with the Titans rallying for a 25-21 decision and a 2-2 tie heading to the fifth and final set.
Each team had rallying spurts in the deciding set but could not pull far enough away from each other to give a clue as to who might be the winner.The Panthers eventually scored the winning point on one of Baier's 21 kills to earn a 15-13 decision for a 3-2 match win.
Both Delta and Coal Ridge came into Saturday's match with perfect league marks and the winner gaining an edge in the title race.
Assistant coach Teresa Baier and head coach Beth Nelson agreed on the importance of the win. "The win was key for us because it potentially could be the deciding match for a league title."
Preparation for the match with Coal Ridge was concentrated. "One of the keys to a win was the five days of practice we had preparing for Coal Ridge," noted Nelson. "We treated this game as a league title game during practice."
"The key for us, especially in the fifth set, was the leadership and play of our seniors," stated Nelson.
With an established style of play and the success Delta has enjoyed this season, the Panthers will be guarding against any letdowns against Thursday's (Sept. 29) foe Olathe. "We'll be concentrating on hustle and playing with pride to take care of the ball on our side of the net," quoted Nelson.
The Panthers do not play Coal Ridge again in a regularly scheduled league match but play in Coal Ridge in the season-ending tournament.