Two of the top Class A volleyball programs in the state lost their Delaware County tournament semifinal matches in similar fashion Saturday.
Class A No. 3 Cowan put together some stretches of excellent play, but Class 3A No. 1 Yorktown took advantage of its superior talent for a 25-18, 25-15, 25-12 victory.
The same applied for Class A No. 5 Wes-Del in its 25-12, 25-17, 25-10 loss to 2A No. 1 Wapahani.
Cowan played one of its better ball-control matches of the season to hang with Yorktown through the first two sets. The Blackhawks trailed Yorktown by only two points late in the first and held a 12-11 lead in the second before the Tigers scored eight of the next 10 points.
Yorktown wore the Blackhawks down by shutting down their attack. The Blackhawks terminated only 28 balls as Yorktown totaled nine blocks, led by Courtney Chowning with three.
“We were serving well, and I don’t think our back row has passed better, in particular Jessica Mace and Valorie Flick were really passing well,” Cowan coach Pancho Alvarez said. “The thing was when we really had an opportunity to dictate how things could go early, we just didn’t get it done in the top. We just didn’t finish.”
Flick stood out on the stat sheet as the star performer of the match. The Cowan sophomore libero totaled a match-high 47 digs.
“You’ve got to come with excitement,” Flick said. “If you don’t, you’ll just be down. You’ve got to get everybody at the same pace and get excited.”
Flick said the positives from their match outweighed the negatives. Wes-Del senior libero Natalie Heaton felt the same after their match against Wapahani.
The Warriors (16-9) resembled a deer in headlights at the start of their match. The Raiders reeled off the first 10 points with their fast-transition attack and led 16-2 before Wes-Del finally settled into system.
Wes-Del traded Wapahani points for the remainder of the first set. The Warriors then opened the second with a 6-2 lead before the Raiders kicked back into gear.
“One of the players said, ‘At first I think we were playing just not to mess up.’ And then when we thought, what the heck, let’s just start playing hard, we did,” Wes-Del coach Biff Wilson said. “We wanted to come out and scrap it up and just work hard at our game. You’re not going to see very many better transition teams than Wapahani. They transition fast and accurately, and we need to see that to prepare for later on in the season.”
Wilson took some satisfaction in how his team passed Saturday. Shaky ball control cost the Warriors some matches earlier in the season, but their improvement in that aspect is a positive as they prepare to defend their Class A state championship.
“We worked so well as a team together. I’m proud of us,” Heaton said. “The communication was great. There were no run-ins where it was like, ‘oh, is that mine or is that yours?’ Everyone just knew their place.”