Raiders rocking into Christmas break

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Christmas came a week early for the Delhi Raiders senior girls volleyball team.

The girls in blue and gold have been serving up losses for their Norfolk rivals this season and that trend continued against a formidable group of visitors from Holy Trinity on Dec. 18.

With Inge Hoogenboom at the line, the Raiders racked up seven straight points to begin the match and DDSS never looked back.

“We were really nervous coming into this game but that gave us confidence, for sure,” Hoogenboom said following Delhi’s 3-1 (25-11, 25-22, 18-25, 25-17) win.

“We were staying aggressive, that was our big thing this game. We weren’t getting stuck on our feet, we were working as a team and talking.”

The Titans came alive in the second, and became the first team to take a set from the Raiders in the third, but Holy Trinity wasn’t able to hold off Delhi for long.

The veteran core of Ashley Spain, Hoogenboom, Josie Hall, and Gemma Ladosz led the way to a thorough victory – which gave Delhi a 4-0 record on the year and the lead in the race for first place in NSSAA.

“We’re going to work hard when we come back from the break, for sure,” Hoogenboom said. “This is only the first half and anything can happen in the second half so we’re going to stay aggressive, stay working as a team and stay positive.”

For a team that’s been in the title hunt for a number of years, the Titans simply weren’t on their game save for a few brief moments. The service of Port Dover native Camryn Kilpatrick put the Titans ahead in the second and helped them stave off a loss in the third. Ultimately, the squad couldn’t rise to Delhi’s level.

“I think it was honestly just all nerves,” said Kilpatrick. “We kind of came into this game thinking this is the most important game and we needed it to have that advantage playing semis and finals on our home court. We just lost it, I don’t know – I think it was all nerves.”

The Titans dropped to 2-2 on the year and will be in a fight with their cross-town rival Simcoe Sabres, amongst others for position going into the playoffs, which begin in February.

The entire league will break for Christmas before coming back for three games in January.

“We have all the skills to win, we just need to put it all together and really want it,” said Kilpatrick. “When we hosted the finals (in 2017), we wanted that game and that’s how we won. Delhi is our biggest competition this year so we really just need to put everything together. I know we’ll be able to, it’s just about doing it.”

If the playoffs were to begin now, Delhi would receive the hosting duties but like Hoogenboom eluded to, the Raiders aren’t taking anything for granted.

Delhi and Holy Trinity will meet again to finish the regular season Feb. 7.

“We’ll definitely keep this one in mind because they did beat us in one set and that’s the first set we’ve lost all season, they definitively gave us a run for our money,” Hoogenboom said. “They showed us how competitive other teams can be.”

Holy Trinity won the junior contest by a count of 3-0.

jrobinson@postmedia.com

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