Smyrna battles but falls to Tatnall in 5-set state tourney match

WILMINGTON — The Smyrna High volleyball team fought as long as it could to extend its season.

But the Eagles came up two points short.

Seventh-seeded Smyrna pushed Tatnall to a fifth set before being edged 15-13 in the decisive set in the second round of the DIAA state volleyball tournament. Tatnall, the No. 10 seed, will advance to the quarterfinals to play second seed Archmere on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined.

“It was a battle back and forth all the way through,” said Smyrna coach Danny Wandless. “They had some runs, we had some runs but each team never let the other team bury them. It was a battle right down to the last point.”

Tatnall was up 2-1 and also leading in the fourth set before Smyrna rallied.

Smyrna faced match-point five time in the fourth set but always found a way to tie things up. The Eagles eventually ended the fourth set with a 31-29 victory.

With the score tied 29-29, Erin Smallwood came up with a kill to give the Eagles a one-point lead. Camryn Markel then served an ace to set off a wild celebration by the Smyrna bench as the match move to the fifth set.

“That was incredible,” Wandless said. “To come back, I’m proud of the girls. They never gave up and they never got down on themselves. To see them come out with the win in that set was amazing to watch.”

Smyrna took a 3-0 lead in the deciding set before Tatnall eventually tied it at 7-7. Smyrna also led 11-9 but the Hornets scored three unanswered to take their first lead of the set at 12-11.

Marqueisha Bennet’s kill tied it again at 12-12 then Tatnall scored a pair back-to-back, forcing a Smyrna timeout facing match point. Smyrna survived again on a serving error, keeping its season alive for one more point.

Smyrna was able to get a block on Tatnall’s attempted kill on the final point, but it fell just out of bounds on the other side of the net.

Smyrna had won the first set 25-15. Tatnall responded with a 25-22 victory in the second set.

Tatnall looked to be cruising to an easy third-set win, going on top 7-1. But led by the serving of Morgan Holman, Smyrna was able to get back into the set and even took a one-point lead late before Tatnall ended with another 25-22 victory.

Smallwood paced the Eagles with 12 kills and Sarah Workman chipped in 10. Bennett finished with eight kills, two of which came during the final set.

Senior setter Kylie McCusker, one of only two seniors on the Eagles, recorded 35 assists for Smyrna who ended the season 14-3 overall.

Tower Hill 3, Caesar Rodney 0: The No. 16 Riders fell to the top-seeded Hillers in the second round of the state tournament on Saturday.

Tower Hill won by scores of 25-14, 25-14, 25-11.

CR finishes the season 12-5.

Ursuline 3, Delmar 0: The sixth-seeded Raiders downed the No. 22 Wildcats in Saturday’s second-round state tournament match.

Delmar, the Henlopen South champion, finishes the season 9-9.

High school football

Woodbridge 10, Laurel 7: Troy Haynes’ 36-yard touchdown pass to Michael Brewer with just 2:32 left allowed the Blue Raiders to stay unbeaten with the Henlopen South win on Saturday afternoon.

Woodbridge (5-0 South, 9-0 overall) scored all 10 of its points in the last five minutes, also getting a safety and a two-point conversion after trailing 7-0. The Raiders host Delmar (4-1, 6-3) on Friday in its regular-season finale with the Henlopen Southern Division title on the line.

The Raiders have won their last 14 regular-season games.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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