What a difference one day makes.
Delone Catholic High beat Hanover 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 on Tuesday evening at Hanover High School behind excellent play from Faith Athey and Allie Mondorff.
One day earlier, they were struggling through practice.
"Her and Allie could not connect on anything," Delone coach Jason Leppo said. "They were all over the map. They could not find each other to save each other's lives. It's one of those things. They're going to have good days; they're going to have bad days."
Tuesday was one of the former.
Athey had 12 kills and six blocks. Mondorff finished with 26 assists -- 10 more than the Hawkettes -- and four kills, two blocks and eight digs.
Hanover jumped to early leads in each game before Delone rallied over the middle portions to take commanding leads.
With the first game tied at 7, the Squirettes went on a 15-5 run for a 22-12 lead. Five serves later, they had a 25-14 win and a 1-0 lead overall.
Hanover was in the second game as late as 10-10 and drew within four, 21-17, late in the game before Delone won for a 2-0 lead in games.
The Hawkettes took a 7-3 lead in the third game before Leppo called timeout and shouted for his girls to sit on the courtside chairs.
"In that situation, we just wanted to make sure we didn't turn it off," he said. "You have a 2-0 lead. We had to keep the hammer down and keep pressing. I just thought the beginning of that third game (that) we started to fall too in love with those placement shots. We were tipping a little too much, trying to be too precise. Sometimes you have to go up and swing at the ball.
"With (Hanover) being so good defensively, they're going to pick it up and beat you. We have to sometimes let it loose, let it fly, let it swing. That's what I was trying to get across."
His point was well taken. Delone drew the game into an 8-8 tie and then scored eight of the next 11 points for a 16-11 lead. The Squirettes later went on a 8-0
Two points later, they secured the 25-17 game and a 3-0 win.
"As simple as it sounds, sometimes you get to 25 points first," Leppo said. "I don't think I could point to one thing, the X-factor. I thought we played consistent. I thought we served tough the whole match. The third game was the only game we were getting separation from our service line. We just played well."
A lot of Delone's offense ran through the 6-foot-1 Athey, whose 12 kills were five fewer than Hanover had as a team.
"She's a great player," Hanover coach Reagan Bitler said. "She moves well across the net. Usually you have a big middle and they're not so quick to block the outsides, but she moves really well. She's got a pretty good repertoire of attacks.
"You have to put somebody on her, and you have (to deal with) somebody like Allie Mondorff running the sets there."
Despite the loss, Bitler was proud of the improvement his team showed.
"I don't think we recognize it as well because were up against such a great team like Delone," he said. "But looking at the number of digs that we had was reflective of that."
Hanover finished with 30 digs, 15 from Courtney Cleary and 13 from Paige Fuhrman.
Diamond Sorrells finished with a team-high seven kills for the Hawkettes, and teammate Logan Myers led with 10 assists.
Bitler hoped his team will continue its improvement. Each division receives one automatic bid to advance to postseason play with at-large bids given to selected others.
"There's a lot on the line with this one game," Bitler said. "The girls understand where we need to be at the end of the season. Fortunately, we get to see (Delone) again. You never know what the outcome is going to be. We could split for the season.
"We don't want to peak tonight. If it means you don't win, you don't win. But we saw the progression."
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DELONE CATHOLIC 3, HANOVER 0
(25-14, 25-19, 25-17)
Delone stats -- Faith Athey (12 kills, 6 blocks), Brittany George (10 digs), Maddie Groth (5 kills, 5 digs, 2 blocks), Hannah Lawrence (6 digs, 2 assists), Courtney McMaster (5 kills, 5 blocks, 1 dig), Allie Mondorff (26 assists, 4 kills, 2 blocks, 8 digs), Natalie Ormond (3 kills, 4 aces, 3 blocks, 4 digs), Nikki Snyder (14 digs, 1 assist), Izzy Ugarte (7 digs), Cam Wierman (7 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 5 digs).
Hanover stats -- Courtney Cleary (15 digs), Paige Fuhrman (13 digs), Sam Good (3 kills, 6 assists, 1 block), Logan Myers (3 kills, 2 digs, 10 assists), Abbey Rhodes (4 kills, 3 blocks), Diamond Sorrells (7 kills, 2 blocks).
JV Score -- Delone Catholic def. Hanover, 25-21, 25-17.