Delhi and Denair High varsity volleyball met on the court for the first time this season on Wednesday night in a Southern Athletic League clash.
The Delhi Hawks played shorthanded in the first two sets going down but fought back to force a fifth, but in the end the Denair Coyotes picked up their first victory of the season after a tumultuous 3-2 ending (25-19, 25-21, 17-25, 19-25 and 15-13).
“They needed the win to believe they could win,” said Denair head coach Christy North. “That was what we were struggling with the entire first part of the season. It's not that other teams were that much better than us, it's that we made mistakes and lacked the confidence that they could work together.”
“It was close... it was close, but next time,” said Delhi head coach Erik Supnet. “We knew to play a little harder today being at home and just trying to beat Denair so we tried to get them all pumped up.”
Delhi was playing without a pair of starters in the first two sets, and it cost them.
Denair took full advantage and came out with a fury in the opening set taking a 3-point lead early on before Delhi battled back.
Tied at 17-17 in the first, Denair managed to pull away with an 8-2 run, winning their first set of the season after five previous losses in straight sets.
The second set saw some early momentum swings and Delhi—again—took a lead at 14-11 before Denair pulled away with a 14-7 run to win it by four.
With their two regular starters in at the beginning of the third, Delhi finally looked to have a slight edge in momentum and it showed early in the third after the Hawks took an early lead. They never let go of the lead, winning the third by eight points.
The fourth set saw the same outcome in a similar fashion as Delhi went up early and never gave up their lead, winning it convincingly and forcing a fifth set with a high energy crowd in the background.
The fifth set was a loud uproar of chants and screams with each momentum shift.
Every point mattered in the fifth and both teams played like it, dropping to the ground and digging at every chance while earning every point after long rallies.
Delhi never led in the fifth but did managed to come within one point over half a dozen times, and even tie it twice late in the game, however, each time Denair responded or took advantage of the miscues on the opposite end.
The two-point win secured the Coyotes’ first win of the season and the first for coach North at Denair.
“There was a lot of firsts tonight, but I am just really proud of them,” North added. “They are gaining the confidence and they worked as a team tonight, it was real evident, whether we won a set or not, the bench was talking and everything we been working on for a few months... it took a win to see it can work.”
Denair and Delhi are currently tied in the SAL with a record of 1-5.
The next game for Denair will be on the road against Gustine at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Delhi's next game will be at home against Mariposa at 6:30 p.m. Monday.