WAYNE - Potentially one game away from a Tournament of Champions title, the River Dell Lady Hawks brought up a Group 2 title ending a 10-year drought following their 25-14, 25-11 win over Sterling High School at William Paterson University. The last time the Group 2 title belonged to River Dell was in 1998.
"This was our big goal all season," senior co-captain Kate Brock said. "It's exciting as our energy and focus sets us apart. It makes the difference between a good team and a great team."
From the get-go, River Dell was bolstered by strong play from Brock and Mary Maccabee, who recorded seven service points in a row. Errors and botched serve returns kept the Silver Knights from putting together a rally while the Lady Hawks used Sterling's inexperience to their advantage. This was the first year for the Silver Knights to appear in a state group tournament final.
"We played to our full potential, and to experience this early is amazing," sophomore middle blocker Alicia Hines said. "We're confident in our plays and help bring each other up if we make a mistake."
But the Hawks made few mistakes against the Knights, instead a concerted effort by the entire team led to the overall win. The second game included Emily Wilts coming up with 11 consecutive service points but it would be freshman outside hitter Jennifer Desplat that would secure the win with a block point.
"This has been a four-year vision since Kate [Brock] and Emily [Wilts] were freshman," head coach Dianne Furusawa said. "I knew they had the ability and having the rest of the players coming in with the same committment really made this team.
"Mary [Maccabee] is a tremendous athlete, Lindsey [Clark] has stepped up as the libero and has outstanding speed," Furusawa continued. "My sophomores Kalette [deMarrais] and Alicia [Hines] have come a long. Kalette, even if she's not passing well makes sure to get her hands on every ball. And there there is my little freshman, Jennifer [Desplat] who is just amazing. Today she had a hit down the line and the block to win."
The Lady Hawks will next compete in the first round of the Tournament of Champions on Saturday, Nov. 19. Game times are: 4th Seed vs. 5th Seed at 2pm, 2nd Seed vs. 3rd Seed at 3:30pm and the winner of the 2pm game vs. the 1st Seed.
The final Tournament Championship game is Sunday, Nov. 20, 2pm. The official seedings for the first round will be released later this week.
|River Dell - Game|
|Kalette de Marrais||17||1||4|