Delta's volleyball team hasn't lost a match since Oct. 3 when league leader Coal Ridge blanked the Panthers 3-0. Since that time, "We had a heart-to-heart after that game and got some things figured out," noted Delta coach Beth Nelson.
Since that loss, Delta has won its last six contests after the Panthers completed their regular season schedule with wins over Grand Valley (3-0) and Roaring Fork (3-0). The Cardinals, 3-6 and 5-14, are seventh in 3A WSL standings while Roaring Fork, 0-10 and 2-16, finished last.
Currently, Coal Ridge is the league leader with a 9-0 league mark and 17-1 overall record. The Panthers rest in second place at 8-1 and 14-5 while Aspen is third, 7-2 and 11-4. Cedaredge is fourth with its 5-3 and 13-8 records and Gunnison is fifth, 6-4 and 10-8.
Between Grand Valley and Roaring Fork is Olathe in eighth place (2-6 and 4-13) and Moffat County (1-8 and 4-18).
Delta 3 Cardinals 0
Last Friday's encounter with Grand Valley was a three-set win for Delta with scores of 25-16, 25-21 and 25-15.
Kill leaders for the Panthers were junior Lauren Davey with eight swats and senior Lexi Quinn who had six.
Quinn was also active in producing high numbers in aces (4), digs (7), and service receptions (14).
Junior Abby Carlson had three aces with sophomore Sara Geddes and seniors Elena Gilliam and Kat Rodriguez recording two blocks each in the victory.
The Panthers had 40 digs in the match with Rodriguez (10), senior Harlee Roberts (8), Quinn (7) and Carlson (6) on the receiving end of most of those chances.
Carlson doled out 22 assists with Roberts (13) and Rodriguez (11) having double-digit service receptions.
Delta 3, Rams 0
Delta's match against Roaring Fork featured a spirited Rams' effort in the opening set. The Panthers and Rams see-sawed back and forth with Delta holding the edge by four or more points most of the way. The final score was 25-19.
Set two was more dominant for the Panthers as they rolled to a 25-12 decision.
The evening's final set was all Delta with the final score being 25-9.
Roberts sparked the scoring from the service line with a jump serve which accounted for eight points.
On the offensive side of the net, Davey and Quinn knocked down seven kills each and Rodriguez added another four.
Defensively, Davey had three blocks and Gilliam blocked two kill attempts.
In the digs department, Roberts and Quinn led the way with six and five respectively.
Carlson had another 22-assist game and Quinn and Rodriguez were service reception leaders with 13 and 11 respectively.
For most of the season Gilliam was not given opportunities to do much serving. Against Roaring Fork she was given the opportunity and was substituted in for Roberts, the team libero. Her first attempt was in the net. Later in the set, Gilliam subbed in for Roberts again and scored a service point. The next serve for Gilliam was an ace and the excitement from her teammates, and Gilliam, was obvious. When asked about her shot for service points and whether or not she knew ahead of time she would be serving, Gilliam responded with, "I was super excited. No, I didn't know I would get to serve."
Coach Nelson admitted she had not planned to use Gilliam in the service rotation. "I hadn't planned to use Elena to serve, but Harlee is one of our best servers and I felt it would be good to let the Rams see a different serve."
Delta will not take a week off prior to entering post-season play. "We are playing in the Coal Ridge tournament again this year. The teams there are good teams and wins in the tournament could improve our RPI standings. It's good for us to see good teams before we go into playoffs."
Delta plays Palisade at noon on Oct. 27 and then finishes the day with a 5 p.m. match against Alamosa. The Panthers open Saturday's action with an 8 p.m. contest against Battle Mountain with a later opponent and time to be determined following that match.