SMYRNA — Sometimes the final score doesn’t tell the whole story.
That was certainly the case in Smyrna High’s 3-0 volleyball sweep of rival Cape Henlopen High in Thursday night’s Henlopen Conference Northern Division showdown.
“It was a really great match tonight,” said Smyrna senior Gianna Romano. “I think Cape Henlopen has always been one of our toughest games. We were battling for every point in each set ... I think it shows how both sides really care about this game and really wanted to win.”
The Eagles picked up consecutive set wins of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-23 to remain undefeated at 5-0. The win gives the program 12 straight victories over Cape, dating back to a season-opening 3-0 sweep on Sept. 14, 2010.
“It was a back-and-forth battle and they (Cape) very well could’ve come away with a win tonight,” said Smyrna coach Daniel Wandless. “It was just an incredible match.”
Smyrna, which hasn’t lost a set since the season-opening 3-1 win at Archmere Academy on Sept. 9, will shift its attention to upstate Padua Academy (3-1) for a match in Wilmington Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Eagles have also picked up 3-0 sweeps over Henlopen opponents Sussex Academy, Milford High and Lake Forest High this season.
Sophomore Carly Timblin led Smyrna in digs with 10, while fellow sophomore Anna Richardson added nine digs and a match-high 13 kills for the Eagles.
Junior Karalyn Osborne tallied a match-high 23 assists and junior Mia Schultz recorded seven kills, four digs, one ace and one block in the win. Romano had eight digs, four kills and four aces.
“It was amazing, they’ve grown so much from last season,” Romano said of the team’s younger players. “I can’t wait to see how these girls play when they’re seniors, I think they’re going to keep improving tremendously because they already have over the last year.”
Junior Natalie Derrickson led the Vikings (2-1) in digs with 14 while fellow junior Megan Smith tallied a team-high 20 assists in the team’s first loss of the season. Senior Rileigh Wilson put up a team-high 12 kills. Junior Kalista Lawson added nine digs and a pair of kills.
Cape picked up 3-0 wins over Sussex Tech High and Sussex Academy to begin the season and will next face Newark Charter School on the road Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
Smyrna jumped out and controlled the first set early on, building the quick 11-4 lead before Cape battled back to pull to within two points, 14-12, after an 8-3 run.
After a Smyrna timeout, the Eagles held on to the lead but the Vikings kept it close, pulling back to within two points at 22-20 before Smyrna registered three straight points for the set win.
Once again in the second set, Smyrna jumped out ahead early with a 5-2 lead before Cape took its first lead of the match at 9-8. The two teams battled for control of the scoreboard throughout the second set, as the score was knotted at 8-8, 9-9, 11-11, 14-14 and 16-16 before Smyrna finally took the lead for good at 17-16 on the way to a hard fought 25-22 set win.
With momentum playing a huge role in the sport of volleyball, Wandless knew his girls needed to close things out in the third set if they’d like to come away with the win.
That third set featured seven lead changes before Smyrna finally pulled away with the tough 25-23 win to clinch the match.
Cape jumped ahead early in the set, putting up four of the set’s first six points before the two sides exchanged leads multiple times.
With the Vikings holding the 13-10 lead, Smyrna called a timeout to regroup and right after the break Timblin served the Eagles to six straight points to regain the momentum with the 16-13 lead.
Cape battled back and tied the score 21-21, then grabbed a 22-21 lead moments later, before Smyrna closed things out with the two-point win in the clinching set.
“I was definitely thinking that I only had two timeouts, I had a couple substitutions that I could use and momentum is huge in volleyball,” Wandless said. “You have to try to stop them when you can and not make mistakes when you get the ball back. It was tough.
“If you go into set four with them having momentum, now we’d have to earn that back and we’re climbing up the hill. We’re fortunate that we walked out of here with that win in set three, no doubt.”