Eagles outlast Pacers in 5-set thriller


By Michael Rich - For the Gazette



DELAWARE – The Delaware Christian girls volleyball team gave its seniors one last parting gift on their home floor with a five-set marathon victory over Delaware Hayes Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles will be the top seed in the upcoming Division IV tournament and have a chance to host two tournament games, including a first-round matchup against 19th-seeded Harvest Prep on Oct. 15 with MOCAL-rival Northside Christian, seeded 18th, waiting in the second round.

But beating big Division I Delaware Hayes shows how strong the Eagles are this season.

“It’s important for the seniors because we’re now 2-2 (against Hayes),” senior Sloane Dellipoala said. “We really wanted to tie up the score (against them).”

They showed off all of their weapons in the 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 25-11, 15-11 non-league win.

“I told the girls earlier that this was something we needed,” DCS assistant coach Sharon Copley said. “We needed to go five (sets) because we haven’t gone five all year. I was really happy with how they stuck to it after being down.”

DCS relied heavily on Lyssi Snouffer in years past, and she’s still a big part of the offense. She led the Eagles with 23 kills on offense and anchored the defense with 22 digs.

Dellipoala and Allison Grover gave the Eagles more offensive firepower.

Dellipoala came up particularly big in the fifth set with a couple of early kills and a block and a half as the Eagles built an early lead they never surrendered.

Grover was a force in the fourth set with three kills and an 8-1 rally that put the Eagles firmly in control in a set they needed.

“I felt Lyssi had a huge day and that’s always good for us,” Copley said. “We’ve tried to incorporate those two middles … and they both had really good games. Everybody has known for a while that they’ve gotta stop Lyssi. So, if we come with a more multi-pronged attack, then we have a better shot.”

Dellipoala finished with 12 kills and Grover added nine.

Grace Williams had 21 assists and Erin Bauslaugh had 18 assists and four aces to fuel the DCS offense.

“They have a strong team,” Hayes coach Raynard Martin said. “They didn’t have to rely on one person. They had strong passers in the back and had some really strong middle hitters and then — when they wanted to go to Lyssi — it seemed like they could and it worked.”

Defensively, Emma Rindfuss and Abby Blackburn shouldered a big part of the load for the Eagles (20-1). Rindfuss had 20 digs and 19 service receives and Blackburn had 21 service receives.

“We have a great sophomore libero in Emma Rindfuss, who can come up and take a lot of balls to save Lyssi for hitting and myself and Allison Grover can take a lot of balls (on offense) as well,” Dellipoala said. “Our setters have done really well as hitters. We have seven seniors and it’s just been nice to see us all step up and fill in our roles.”

The Pacers (8-12) didn’t make it easy, though. Rebecca Rocassin turned in a well-rounded effort with 13 kills, 16 assists, eight digs and four blocks to lead the way for Hayes, which was without one of its setters in Anna Johnson (concussion). Chloe Jeffers helped shoulder the load with 10 assists.

“(Rocassin) played well,” Martin said. “She’s getting some more opportunities and looks because one of our starting setters has been out.”

Hayes was particularly strong on the block with 11 led by Hadlee Bruns with five and the serve with 10 aces, with Lily Lagando leading the way with four. Bruns and Bailey Christenson added six kills apiece.

“We came out with a lot more energy and more readiness to play in the second and third,” Martin said. “Delaware Christian is a great team and they were ready to play. You can’t let a team like that come out and have their way with you … and they did.”

Next up, Hayes plays Westerville North in non-league play in its regular-season home finale Tuesday at 7 p.m. DCS travels to Granville Christian to both close out MOCAL play and the regular season.

The Pacers, seeded 25th in the upcoming Division I district tournament, will travel to 23rd-seeded Dublin Jerome in the first round Oct. 14. The Pacers and the Celtics have split two OCC-Cardinal matchups this season and the winner will visit 10th-seeded Gahanna Lincoln in the next round Oct. 16.

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By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at mrichnotwealthy@gmail.com.

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at mrichnotwealthy@gmail.com.