View from the Baseline: Week 7 volleyball top 10 rankings

Jason Winchell Headlines, Sports

Dover vs Smyrna volleyball game, photo courtesy of Ben Fulton

We’ve reached the final week of the regular season. The next edition of the Baseline will include a look at the state tournament bracket, but a lot will happen between now and then.

The focus this week will be, for many teams, fine-tuning as the state tournament approaches. For others, however, whether they play past this week depends on how they play this week, along with how other teams finish up the season. It’s a 24-team tournament, and as of Sunday night, 29 teams were .500 or better, so obviously that is not enough to guarantee a postseason bid.

The other activity that will be popular among coaches and volleyball enthusiast this week is counting bonus points. Those can play a significant role in tournament seeding. Entering the week, there were 19 teams whose week will affect the number of bonus points they provide opponents.

Matches to watch this week: Padua at Saint Mark’s, Tuesday, 7:15pm.; Wilmington Charter at Smyrna, Thursday, 6pm; Wilmington Friends at Newark Charter, Friday, 5:15pm.; Ursuline at Saint Mark’s, Saturday, 7:15pm.

 

Top 10

 

No. 1 Saint Mark’s has not lost a set since its five-set win over Smyrna. The Spartans wrap up the regular season with two tough matches against their longest-standing rivals, although both are at home. They have the inside track to the top seed in the state tournament.

 

No. 2 Smyrna keeps on rolling against an impressive schedule. Of the Eagles’ 13 opponents, just four are currently below .500.

 

No. 3 Ursuline travels to Padua on Thursday for its first match in nine days. The Raiders finish the regular season on Saturday at Saint Mark’s in what has become a tradition in Delaware high school volleyball.

 

No. 4 Tower Hill has won 10 straight since losing to Ursuline in early September. Only Saint Mark’s has a longer winning streak.

 

No. 5 Padua continues its solid play against one of the toughest schedules in the state. The Pandas have a pair of tough matches to close out the regular season as they continue to push for a first-round bye in the tournament.

 

No. 6 Caesar Rodney jumps a few spots as the Riders continue  to impress. Last week included wins over a resurgent Delmarva Christian and Henlopen South champ Sussex Academy. CR will be favored in its final two matches, both on the road.

 

No. 7 Newark Charter has rebounded with four straight wins following a three-match losing streak in the middle of the season. The Patriots have a busy week to close out the season but should be hosting a first-round tournament match.

 

No. 8 Dover keeps motoring along, likely to earn a first-round bye. The Senators’ three losses have come against opponents with a combined record of 32-7. 

 

No. 9 Wilmington Charter has become the masters of five sets, having gone the distance in three of its last four matches. The Force have a brutal non conference schedule, which continues in the regular-season finale Thursday at Smyrna.

No. 10 Middletown/Archmere sit in the final spot. The Cavaliers will have an extra match to prepare for the tournament as they face Concord in the Blue Hen Conference championship. The Auks had a tough week, which runs into this week on Tuesday at Tower Hill.

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