We’re headed back to the Henlopen Conference North this week on the Baseline, where another program is making noise. This time, it’s Caesar Rodney, which has slipped into the top 10 after a 2-0 week that included a sweep of Dover on the road.
The Riders are 5-2 entering this week, with both losses coming to top-5 teams in Smyrna and Newark Charter. Both of those went five sets. CR had top-ranked Smyrna down two sets to zero before the Eagles stormed back, and they followed by taking the No. 5 Patriots to the wire.
Caesar Rodney is senior-heavy. The outside hitters include Melissa Eddy, Elianna Dyer and Zoe Thomas, all seniors, as are setters Alyssa Diem and Allison Hemberger. Coach Jake Bluhm and assistants Cherise Franlin and Jon Bollman have things trending up in Camden-Wyoming.
The Riders are road warriors this week, traveling to Cape Henlopen on Tuesday, then heading to No. 9 Middletown on Thursday.
Matches to watch this week: Wilmington Charter at Archmere, Tuesday, 6pm; Middletown at Concord, Tuesday, 4:45 p.m.; Caesar Rodney at Middletown, Thursday, 6pm; Saint Mark’s at Newark Charter, Thursday, 6:15 p.m.
No. 1 Smyrna kept it rolling last week with a pair of sweeps. The Eagles travel to Caravel on Thursday and can’t look past the Buccaneers with Saint Mark’s on the horizon.
No. 2 Saint Mark’s has lost only two sets all season, but Ursuline battled the Spartans before the Spartans swept. They are on the road for their next three matches, none of which will be a cakewalk.
No. 3 Archmere is riding a six-match win streak, but there is no room to celebrate. Diamond State Conference rival Wilmington Charter is at Moglia Fieldhouse on Tuesday, and the Auks have a Saturday matinee at Appoquinimink.
No. 4 Ursuline went 2-1 last week, including a sweep at Cape Henlopen after five straight home matches. C.C. DeCaro has been a force for the Raiders all season, and she — along with her teammates — will have to be on top of their game when Paul VI comes to visit from New Jersey on Thursday.
No. 5 Newark Charter is one of four unbeaten teams left, and the resume includes a win over Caesar Rodney. The schedule gets more difficult beginning this week, when they travel to Padua and host Saint Mark’s. The Patriots have shown remarkable balance this season.
No. 6 Wilmington Charter’s lone loss came on the road at Saint Mark’s. Coach Mary Pat Kwoka has her team playing well. They may not be as tall as in past years, but hitters Miranda Ting and Seraphina Pabian can jump through the roof.
No. 7 Tower Hill enters the week on a four-match win streak, three of those against Independence Conference foes, along with former conference mate Wilmington Christian. The Hillers’ week includes a bus ride to Delmarva Christian
No. 8 Padua fell to No. 4 Ursuline before winning at Delmarva Christian. The Pandas are winning the matches they have to win and are looking solid for a state tournament berth. They begin a run of four straight at home on Tuesday against No. 5 Newark Charter.
No. 9 Middletown is 6-0 entering the week, including a win Sept.29 against Appoquinimink that puts the Cavaliers in the driver’s seat in Blue Hen Conference Flight A. Seniors Adrianna Davidson, Cortne Chaney and Kaylee Stenvik have led the way. The team has two tests this week.
No. 10 Caesar Rodney enters the top 10 this week. The Henlopen North is putting together another strong collective season.
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