PIAA VOLLEYBALL: Delaware Valley ready for matchup against Whitehall

Delaware Valley learned a lot about itself late in the boys volleyball season.

The Warriors were in pursuit of a second straight undefeated season in the Wyoming Valley Conference when they hosted District 11 powerhouse Parkland, the defending PIAA Class 3A champion. That day in early May, Delaware Valley sent shockwaves throughout the state with a convincing 3-0 win.

After that, the Warriors' confidence burst through the roof. They finished off a perfect season in the WVC, then defended their District 2 Class 3A championship with emphatic dominance.

On Tuesday, Delaware Valley (14-3) opens the state playoffs at home against Whitehall (18-5), the second-place team from District 11. The Zephyrs lost the District 11 final to Parkland.

"We came out against Parkland pretty crazy and played really well," U'Glay said. "We have to stay humble. We have to focus on the fundamentals and come out just as strong against a very good Whitehall team."

Delaware Valley had an inauspicious start to what turned into a championship season.

The Warriors lost to Emmaus, 3-0, and Bethlehem Liberty, 3-0, in back-to-back games. Both of those teams compete in District 11.

But with U'Glay, Tommy Parker, and Aiden Papula leading a turnaround, Delaware Valley won three straight before falling to undefeated Exeter Township. Following the setback, the Warriors won their next 11 games and lost only three sets.

"We started to serve better, and our chemistry has come along and been a big part of our success," U'Glay said. "We have done well getting our serves in, and our defense has also been really good. Once we make a good defensive play, that hypes up the team.

"I feel confidence and chemistry are two things that will really help us at the state level."

Interestingly, Whitehall also started its season with losses to Emmaus, 3-0, and Liberty, 3-1, to start the season.

The Zephyrs followed with 10 straight wins, which included a 3-2 win over Parkland.

Parkland, however, defeated Whitehall in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament final and in the District 11 championship game.

Senior Jack Kocher has 238 kills and also has 139 digs to lead Whitehall. Ethan Ringenberger has 91 kills and 225 assists, Brandon Bird has 193 digs, and Drew Sodl has 213 assists for the Zephyrs.

"As a team, we have to pick ourselves up and not get down," U'Glay said. "We have to be scrappy on defense. When we play good defense, it all comes together for us. We have to continue to pass well and serve and receive well."