An undefeated league run.

After two seasons of coming oh-so-close, the Delta High School volleyball team finally secured the 10-0 3A Western Slope League finish with a sweep of Rifle last Tuesday. It’s the Panthers’ first league championship since 2016.

Delta had a strong attack against the Bears, led by nine kills from senior Raelee McCurdy. Junior Ellie Ames had seven kills while Melana McCormick added six.

“It was an exciting night for us because it set us up to be undefeated in league,” Panthers coach Beth Nelson said. “We had some motivated seniors and they played really well. It was a match and a fun celebration afterwards.”

Eight hitting errors were Delta’s lowest total this season and senior Jillian Carlson notched 24 assists without a ball-handling error. Nelson said she thought Carlson led the team during the match against Rifle.

“They’ve been hitting off her since they were 10 years old,” Nelson said. “The timing was on and she got things moving.”

Defensively, Ames led the way with three blocks, while McCormick and Erika Kuta had two each. Kuta paced the team with 15 digs, while Ames had 11 digs and Kaelynn Porter added 10.

Later in the week, the Panthers fell 3-0 to Montrose, a team ranked No. 8 in Class 4A in the poll.

Two Indians’ hitters, Kelsey Rocco and Madisen Matoush, combined for 27 of the team’s 41 kills.

“They’re a really good team,” Nelson said. “We tried to block them and they kept hitting right through our blocks. That’s a really strong, really solid team.”

Delta will next travel to New Castle for a tournament where it is scheduled to face Palisade, Glenwood Springs and one undetermined opponent.

“The Coal Ridge tournament is the perfect tournament to have right before the playoffs,” Nelson said. “It will help us prepare.”

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