Smyrna rallies for win over Dover

Smyrna’s Sophia Basler spikes over Dover’s Olivia Czepukaitis during a match at Smyrna on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

SMYRNA — Trailing in the fourth set, the Smyrna High volleyball team kept winning points back-to-back.

The Eagles didn’t stop until it was over.

Smyrna won the last 12 points of the fourth set to clinch a 3-1 victory against Dover High in a showdown of two teams who entered Tuesday undefeated. The Eagles also avenged a 3-2 defeat to the Senators from a year ago.

Smyrna senior outside hitter Sophia Basler led all players with 24 kills, including one on the final point of the game.

“It was so great, especially with the loss to them last year, this team just knows how to dig deep,” Basler said. “Even when we got down, we just came right back. Everyone just wanted to win this so bad. It was such a fun game.”

Dover’s Kendra Williams spikes against Smyrna during volleyball action at Smyrna on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The two teams split the first two sets before Smyrna (7-0) took the third. Dover (6-1) started out strong in the fourth set, going up 17-13 in an attempt to force a fifth and decisive set.

Smyrna did not lose a point the rest of the way, behind sophomore Megan Carroll’s serving.

“The whole team getting really excited is a key point,” Carroll said. “We just kept running with the serves. Cheering on each other helps a lot because we were down and we came back strong with our serves. Fighting back was a big thing for us.”

“I don’t know if we caught them in kind of a bad rotation on their side but our girls were determined to live to see the next play,” said Smyrna coach Danny Wandless. “Megan did a phenomenal job serving and put them in some stuff spots and gave us a little bit of an advantage.”

Set scores in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest were 25-18, 22-25, 25-22 and 25-17.

Smyrna volleyball head coach Daniel Wandless, left, and assistant coach John Trabaudo watch their players play against Dover at Smyrna on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Anna Richardson also finished with double-digit kills for the Eagles with 11. Carroll, Hannah Osborne and Karalyn Osborne contributed four kills apiece.

Rachel Youngcourt ended up tied with Basler for the team lead in digs with 15. Sofia Lerro added 14 digs of her own to go with her 13 assists.

Hannah Osborne led the Eagles in assists with 17. Karalyn Osborne chipped in nine.

Kimberly Czepukaitis paced Dover with 11 kills, followed by nine from Kendra Williams. The Senators’ Olivia Anyanwu led all players with 23 assists.

“It was a dogfight,” Wandless said. “The effort on both sides of the court was amazing. Hats off to Dover for the way they played. The girls left it all out of the floor. I’m proud to see that type of volleyball from two downstate teams.”