The big news of the week comes from Delaware Military Academy, and it has nothing to do with the Seahawks’ play on the court. Unfortunately, an equipment malfunction has wreaked havoc with the team’s season.
DMA athletic director Jeremy Jeanne did not respond to an email or text message seeking details, but the court cannot be used until the net and posts are repaired. Several scheduled home games have been moved to the opponents’ courts, starting with Appoquinimink on Wednesday night. DMA will now travel to Middletown for that one.
As of Sunday night, their next two after that were still scheduled as home matches, set for Oct. 2 and 3.
Moving to the Independent Conference, two teams are making noise. Wilmington Friends is 3-1. The Quakers will face perhaps their toughest foe to date on Tuesday at home against 5-1 Concord. The Raiders, along with Dickinson, are the favorites in Blue Hen Flight B.
And out in Hockessin, the Sanford Warriors are 3-2 as they pursue their first winning season since 2015. That year was also the last time they made the state tournament, reaching the second round. They were swept at Dover on Sept. 22, but all three sets were close. Sanford’s coach is Padua Academy graduate Sarah Cushing; among her assistants are her Padua classmate and fellow Sanford teacher, Rachel Liszkiewicz, and Ursuline alumna Alicia Papa.
The Warriors are led by hitters Reagan Metz and Caroline Boyle, setter Lillianna Cooper and libero Caroline Moore.
Matches to watch this week: Saint Mark’s at Ursuline, Tuesday, 6pm; Caesar Rodney at Dover, Thursday, 5:30pm.; Padua at Ursuline, Thursday, 6pm; Appoquinimink at Middletown, Friday, 6pm
No. 1 Smyrna remains in the top spot after pulling out a win at Caesar Rodney last week. The Eagles lost the first two sets before rallying for a five-set win. They’ll head to Delmar on Tuesday before heading home to meet Sussex Central.
No. 2 Saint Mark’s is making a strong case to be ranked No. 1. They’ll have to play well on the road this week against No. 4 Ursuline, The Spartans are getting contributions from everyone on the roster. They’ll play their next five on the road, culminating with a showdown at Smyrna on Oct. 10.
No. 3 Archmere has put together four straight wins and looked solid in a sweep at Ursuline last week. One of the things that stands out about this group of Auks is the defense they are playing. Getting the ball down against the Auks is proving to be very difficult.
No. 4 Ursuline sticks in the fourth spot despite losing a match last week. The Raiders fell to Archmere before knocking off Delmarva Christian in four sets. Ursuline will be tested severely this week, with home matches against Catholic rivals Saint Mark’s and Padua before a trip to Lewes to meet Cape Henlopen.
No. 5 Newark Charter moves up a spot after a week that included two home wins over solid opponents. The Patriots needed four sets against Delaware Military and Caesar Rodney, but they got the “W” in the end. Only one match awaits Newark Charter this week. It’s at Conrad, and if you go, take some canned goods for the food drive.
No. 6 Wilmington Charter makes the biggest jump this week, sliding up three slots after dealing Dover its first defeat on Thursday. Setter Catie Cole has been rock solid, allowing the Force’s big hitters to get into the right spot to score. Charter’s schedule is about to intensify just a bit.
No. 7 Tower Hill has won its last nine sets to improve to 4-1, but a visit to Wilmington Friends is awaiting the Hillers on Thursday, and that’s never an easy stop.
No. 8 Padua kept its spot in the top 10 after a terrific performance in a loss to Saint Mark’s and back-to-back wins over Caravel and Indian River. The Pandas need to keep the momentum, but road trips this week to Ursuline and Delmarva Christian certainly will be a test.
No. 9 Dover remains in the top 10, bouncing back from its first loss of the season at Wilmington Charter with a home win over Sanford. The Henlopen North figures to come down to Smyrna, Dover or Caesar Rodney, so the Senators will have to be at the top of their game when the Riders visit on Thursday.
No. 10 Middletown cracks the rankings after a 2-0 week that helped them to a 3-0 record in Blue Hen Conference Flight A. Crosstown rival Appoquinimink comes a knockin’ on Friday for a match with conference title implications.
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