The Delhi Raiders and Holy Trinity Titans senior girls volleyball teams have been on a collision course all season long.
After wins during Monday’s semi-final festivities, the year-long duel will be settled in the county championship on Wednesday.
Just before the Titans topped the fourth-seeded Waterford Wolves (3-0), Delhi – the second-ranked squad in the league – swept the No. 3 Simcoe Sabres 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-15) in what captain Inge Hoogenboom felt was the Raiders most impressive outing of the 2018-19 campaign.
“This was so good,” she added. “I think everyone put out their best effort tonight. It really was a team effort.”
Things didn’t begin smoothly for the Raiders though – their star middle Josie Hall was nowhere to be seen due to a work commitment as play began, but Hall soon took to the floor midway through the opening set.
“It was kind of a surprise that she wasn’t here and she was late, but we adjusted well,” Hoogenboom said.
“She’s a big help to the team though.”
Following a relatively easy win to open against a scrappy Sabres squad, the Raiders found themselves down 16-12 and 24-20 at points in the second. Both times Delhi managed to claw back and eventually win, setting the stage for a sweep.
Being able to come back not once but twice showed how far the Raiders have come, Hoogenboom said.
“We focus on the positives for sure – we bring each other up, we don’t get down on each other,” Hoogenboom added. “We’ve learned that throughout the season, being negative doesn’t help anyone. We stayed positive, brought our best effort, stayed smart and kept each other up. Nobody got down on themselves which was really good.”
Coming into the contest, the Sabres were 5-3 on the year but couldn’t seem to throw the Raiders off their game.
“I think we tried our best and did a good job,” said Simcoe’s Jordyn MacDonald.
It was in the second set that the fate of the contest appeared to be sealed. If not, the Raiders went ahead 13-6 in the third to all but assure victory.
“I think when we get down we get really down and can’t get back up,” said MacDonald. “We needed to have more enthusiasm and more of a team effort.”
While Simcoe begins to focus on next season the Raiders have their sights set on knocking off the Titans at home on Wednesday.
If Delhi has any say in the matter, they’ll look to continue with the same effort displayed on Monday.
“Same thing,” Hoogenboom said. “Stay positive and work hard as a team.”
The junior league also held its semi-finals on Monday at Valley Heights. Both the Bears and Holy Trinity Titans beat Simcoe and Delhi 3-0 respectively to earn a spot in Wednesday’s championship.
The junior final will be held at 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity with the seniors to follow.
Basketball playoffs postponed.
An inclement weather day for local schools on Tuesday meant that all NSSAA basketball playoffs would be postponed until Wednesday. Holy Trinity will still host the senior bracket, but with girls volleyball to be played that night, the Simcoe Sabres will face Waterford at 1 p.m. and the Titans and Delhi Raiders will clash afterwards.
The junior playoffs will take place in Waterford with Delhi vs. Holy Trinity at 6 p.m. and Simcoe taking on the unbeaten Wolves at 7:30 p.m.