Delhi (1-5) and Denair (0-6) high schools’ varsity volleyball met on the court for the first time this season on Wednesday night in a Southern Athletic League bout that saw major momentum swings.
The Hawks of Delhi managed to handle the Coyotes in the first two sets after taking advantage of numerous mistakes from Denair, and from there they cruised into a 3-1 win, (25-10, 25-6, 13-25 and 25-9).
“It was good. It was a long time coming since we hadn't won a league game this year,” said Delhi head coach Olivia Andam. “So it was coming for us and this was a good game for us to go into and to want that win, and that’s what our girls did.”
Denair on the other hand, struggled to keep a consistent flow throughout the match and head coach David Lewellen saw the good, the bad and ugly.
“With my team, it’s a motivation thing because they play very well as we saw in the third game,” said Lewellen. “But soon as they go down a couple points, they shut down and as a coach I don't know how to help fix that. I am trying but we have to work on motivation and keep them at a high level.”
The high level was sporadic and took a little time to develop for the Coyotes, who looked confused at times in the first two sets. They went on to commit well over a dozen errors in the first two sets alone.
It didn't help that Delhi started out on fire in the opening set.
Senior Bianca Escobedo made herself known from the onset after she served her team into a 10-0 start.
Escobedo would eventually tally a staggering game-high 14 aces to go along with her eight kills and 11 assists.
“Bianca, along with Solenia [Barahona] have really stepped up as leaders for us,” said Andam. “They were a bit quiet to begin with, but then they realized that they have to step up because the team needs it and that is what they have been doing is stepping up from here on out.”
With the help of Barahona, the Hawks cruised into a strong 15 point victory in the first set.
“I felt they wanted to kill. That was their mindset for the game,” said Andam of Barahona and Escobedo.
The Hawks handled the Coyotes in a convincing second set that ended with a 19-point win heading into a possible third set that could have ended it in straight sets for the home team.
Rather than letting down, Denair came out with a different fire that fueled the team into a stunning turnaround win that ended in a 12-point win, 25-13.
“We have to keep fighting since we lose our will too soon,” said Lewellen. “We have to understand that there are so many points to be scored in volleyball, so it doesn’t matter if we go down a few points. They need to stay mentally in it and keep playing and they should know they can come back from any deficit. They just need to want to keep fighting.”
They saw some of that fight, however, it didn't last longer than one set.
“We never beat Ripon Christian, but we beat them in a set last week, by playing like we did in the third against Delhi,” said Lewellen. “We see it happening, winning a set or two, but for some reason, mentally, they don't see it, so we will just keep working and getting better.”
Denair's Vickie Adler tallied a team-high five kills while Emilee Fanning added four digs.
The Hawks managed to take an early lead in the fourth after making some changes in the third, and went up big before the Coyotes cut the deficit to within three points at 9-6.
Delhi pulled away with a 16-3 run to top Denair in four sets.
“There was a little mess-up in the third. I tried something different to see, but it didn't work and then we switched it back and were good from there,” said Andam of the third set slip up.
Barahona finished with 10 kills, three assists and three aces.
Altogether, Delhi committed under nine servicing errors. They have been averaging well over double digit errors, according to coach Andam.
Delhi will next be competing in the seven-team Pacheco High varsity tournament this weekend in Los Banos at a time yet to be determined and against an opponent yet to be named.
Denair will next take on Gustine at 6:30 p.m. Monday.