Delaware Valley sets its sights on a district championship

So far this spring, Delaware Valley’s boys varsity volleyball team has dominated Wyoming Valley conference action.

Following their May 6 bout with Dallas, the Warriors stood at 12-0 in the conference standings.

Not only is DV undefeated, they haven’t lost a game all season. In each outing, DelVal has taken the match with a 3-0 final.

While some of the tougher teams in the area such as Berwick and Tunkhannock gave the Warriors a good fight, no opponent they’ve faced has been able to score 20 points against them in a single game.

Rugged Roster

Age and experience account for a lot of DVs success this season.

Seniors Blake Gearhart, Tom Raniero, Matt Seger, and Oran Dowd along with junior Jackson Shafer have been steady contributors to the Warriors for years.

Infused into the line-up this year, sophomores Aiden U’Glay and Zane Papula have served as a good replacement for Warriors lost to graduation.

A slew of other tenth graders … Zach Matthews, Steven Schermerhorn, Dan Zhivkovitch and Yoshikatsu Sumitomo … have also been adding punch to the Warriors fight.

“The older guys, especially Matt and Oren who I’ve coached for four years, are having fun. I taught them all I could for three years and now I’m letting them enjoy the ride,” said Adam Holdredge, who along with his wife, Heather, co-headline the Warriors’ coaching staff.

“We still have to play tough. In volleyball, you don’t win until you get twenty-five points. There’s no clock where you can wait out a lead or put in your subs. Not only do you have to defend your lead, you have to keep scoring.”

Through 11 outings, Gearhart has posted 199 kills and Shafer has tallied 149. Raniero has chalked up 355 assists, and Dowd has tallied 43 aces and has 94 digs. Impressive numbers to say the least.

“We’re scoring by kills rather than by relying on the other team to make mistakes,” Holdredge said.

“You can have an 8-3 record in this league just by playing defensively, but I knew that if we wanted to be competitive against teams from other districts we’d have to have an offensively led plan.

“Aggressive play leads to more errors, but if you want to be really good, that’s what you have to do.”

So far, DV’s “Take no prisoners” approach to the sport has met with positive results against less committed teams.

The question that looms now, is will it be as effective against squads that use the same tactics. Holdredge believes fighting fire with fire is what the Warriors must do.

Looking Ahead

Things have been going well for the Warriors, but tougher times are ahead.

At press time, the DV gents still had yet to face perennial powerhouse Holy Redeemer, the only other undefeated squad in the WVC. Additionally, the post-season should pose some challenges for DelVal.

Along with Hazleton, Delaware Valley is the only other team lumped in with District XI for a AAA subregional tournament.

While ranked second in the power ratings behind Whitehall, Coach Holdredge knows his players can compete but they can’t afford to make mistakes in the playoffs.

“District 11 teams are tough. There’s quality and quantity there and they see good teams every night and have lots of experience,” he said. “Anything we throw at them, they’ve seen before. I think we can make it to the finals, but we have to come to play.”

DV will likely host 10-8 Easton at home on May 16 in the opening round of the District II/XI AAA sub-regional tournament.

The first round between the four and five seeds will also take place at Delaware Valley the same night with the quarterfinals to occur following the two opening round tangles.

Should the Warriors continue to win, the semi finals are scheduled for May 21 and the finals on May 23 at sited yet to be determined.