Delone and York Catholic volleyball ready for big matchup
Here are some of the top YAIAA volleyball, soccer, tennis and golf matches to check out the week of Oct. 3-8. Christian Arnold
The York Catholic volleyball team wasn’t doing anything differently Wednesday afternoon as they went through their normal practice routine. The Fighting Irish were preparing for one of their biggest games of the season with the same focus they’ve had all year long.
But Thursday’s meeting with Delone Catholic has some extra meaning beyond the usual bragging rights. It will be a chance for the Irish to hand the Squirettes their first divisional loss of the season, and it's an opportunity for the Irish to move into first place in YAIAA Division III.
“This isn’t, 'Oh if we win we’re tied.' Those are short-term goals,” York Catholic head coach Phil Autrey said. “We’re still looking towards the long-term goals. We’re still at this point in the season fine tuning things … For them this is just gonna be another match against the best team that we’ve played.”
York Catholic's matchup against Delone will be the two team’s second meeting of the season. An earlier meeting between the two schools yielded a 3-0 victory for the Squirettes and was York Catholic’s first divisional loss of the year.
However, the sweep wasn’t indicative of the competitiveness of that first game and Squirettes head coach Jason Leppo knows the Irish will be tough again on Thursday.
“We know that they’ll be well coached and well prepared,” Leppo said. “Even the last couple of years I thought the matches have been closer than what the scores would indicate. So we’re expecting it to be a competitive match and we know that we’re going to have to play well.”
Delone has played well all season and has suffered just one loss all year. The Squirettes are looking to capture their sixth consecutive Division III title this season.
While Thursday’s game will be an important one for Delone, the pressure is nothing new for a team that has played in many big games over the years.
“For us we’re just trying to do everything we have to do to make sure we’re ready towards the end of the year,” Leppo said. “We’re excited to be playing good teams and we’re just working on trying to get better, and working on the things we need to get better at. … It’s kind of business as usual for us. That’s always kind of been how we approach these things.”
Not to be lost, the Fighting Irish are in the midst of a strong season as well, with only two losses all year. The Irish won a District 3 title in 2015, but went 6-6 in Division III play. York Catholic's success this season has started to highlight what they are capable of, the team believes.
“We may be small but we’re tough and we play like a bigger school,” York Catholic’s Rachel Shelly said. “We compete with the bigger schools, so I definitely feel like we’ve shown a lot this season. So far at least.”