This week on the Baseline, we’re going to take a look at the various conference races and see where they stand. Remember, the conference champions get an automatic bid to the state tournament as long as they are in the top half of teams according to point index.
So, theoretically, a team could finish with a record of 12-3 and win their conference, but because of their strength of schedule and that of other teams in the state, they would not necessarily earn an automatic bid. To be sure, it’s a pretty rare occurrence.
Blue Hen Flight A: It’s Middletown’s title to lose. The Cavaliers are undefeated in conference and have two winnable Flight A matches remaining.
Blue Hen Flight B: Concord and Dickinson are both 6-0 in conference play entering this week. The Raiders visit the Rams on Thursday, with the winner earning the Flight B title.
Henlopen North: Well, this is fun. The bottom line is this: if Smyrna — 5-0 in conference play — defeats Dover on Tuesday and Polytech next week, the Eagles win the North. Dover is 4-1 with a loss to Caesar Rodney, and CR is 4-1 with a loss to Smyrna. So if Dover wins on Tuesday, it could be a very interesting tiebreaker. Regardless, all three teams are in the tournament.
Henlopen South: Sussex Academy took control with a win over Lake Forest last week. If they win their final two South matches, they take the conference. Lake and Indian River each have just one conference loss, both to Sussex Academy, so even if the Seahawks lose of of their two remaining South matches, they hold the tiebreaker.
Diamond State: Wilmington Charter is 5-0 in DSAC play with two matches remaining. Archmere is 4-1, and Newark Charter is 3-1. However, the Auks and Patriots both lost to the Force, so a tie right now would still fall in favor of Wilmington Charter. All will be in the state tournament.
Independent: Tower Hill leads the way at 4-0 in Independent play, with Wilmington Friends right behind them at 4-1. The Hillers host the Quakers on Thursday, and should Friends pull off an upset, things will go to a tiebreaker absent any other surprises in the season’s final two weeks.
Christiana High School raised a banner in remembrance of former volleyball coach, athletic director and math teacher Jennifer Mayer, who succumbed to lung cancer last year at the age of 55. Several players from her Premier Volleyball Club teams were on hand to honor her memory.
Matches to watch this week: Wilmington Charter at Ursuline, Tuesday, 6 p.m.; Concord at Dickinson, Thursday, 4:45 p.m.; Wilmington Friends at Tower Hill, Thursday, 5:15 p.m.; Archmere at Saint Mark’s, Thursday, 7:15 p.m.
No. 1 Saint Mark’s takes the top spot after a comeback win over Smyrna last Tuesday. The Spartans host former Saint Mark’s players on Thursday when Archmere visits, the second of four tough matches to close out the regular season.
No. 2 Smyrna bounced back from the heartbreaking five-set loss to Saint Mark’s with a sweep of Sussex Tech. They begin the stretch drive on Tuesday at Dover before closing out with three home matches.
No. 3 Ursuline had a quiet week, but they are back with two battles. Wilmington Charter comes a knockin’ on Tuesday, and the Raiders visit archrival Padua on Thursday. Ursuline defeated Padua earlier this year.
No. 4 Tower Hill keeps rolling. They edged Wilmington Charter in five sets for homecoming for their most impressive win of the season.
No. 5 Padua is off until Saturday, when they visit Wilmington Charter. Last week, the Pandas defeated two out-of-state opponents who entered their matches at Padua with a combined record of 27-3.
No. 6 Wilmington Charter falls a few spots after the tough loss at Tower Hill. The Force have a busy week ahead of them with three matches, including senior night on Tuesday against MOT Charter.
No. 7 Archmere recovered after consecutive losses with a pair of wins. They are on the road for their next three matches, at Newark Charter, Saint Mark’s and Tower Hill. The Auks will be tournament ready when the postseason arrives.
No. 8 Caesar Rodney is up to six consecutive wins after sweeps of Lake Forest and Polytech last week. The Riders are road warriors the rest of the way, beginning Tuesday at an improving Delmarva Christian.
No. 9 Dover is looking for its second 13-2 regular season in the past three years, but to get there, the Senators will need to take down Smyrna. They did exactly that two years ago.
No. 10 Middletown/Newark Charter have to settle for the first tie on the Baseline this season. The Cavaliers have three more wins than the Patriots, but Newark Charter’s strength of schedule makes this a tie.
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