Delaware Christian School girls volleyball coach Jackie Boggs believes her team exceeded expectations this season.
The Eagles lost to Shekinah Christian 25-12, 25-7, 25-8 in a Division IV district final Oct. 26 at Hilliard Darby to finish 19-5 overall. They returned only two starters from last season, when they went 21-3 overall.
"They will always be considered overachievers because not much was expected of them after having our best-ever season last year," Boggs said. "This is a special group. They surpassed nearly everyone's expectations."
The Eagles won their sixth MOCAL championship, including second in a row. They went 11-1 in the league to share the title with Madison Christian. They beat host Madison Christian 25-18, 23-25, 25-13, 25-16 on Sept. 22 but lost the second meeting 25-22, 13-25, 24-26, 25-10, 16-14 on Oct. 2 at home.
Last season, Delaware Christian won the MOCAL championship at 12-0.
"I had faith we could win the league again, but I even had parents of some of our players tell me during the preseason that this could be a long year after last season," said Boggs, who has guided the Eagles to all six of their league titles. "The girls did a wonderful job of listening to the coaching staff, working hard in practice and improving throughout the season. They were very coachable and a pretty close-knit group and that made it very enjoyable watching their work pay off."
The Eagles were seeded fifth in the district tournament and had a first-round bye. They defeated 13th-seeded Fisher Catholic 25-13, 25-21, 20-25, 25-14 in the second round Oct. 18 and beat sixth-seeded Gahanna Christian 14-25, 25-12, 25-21, 22-25, 15-12 in a district semifinal Oct. 24 before losing to second-seeded Shekinah Christian.
A year ago, Delaware Christian was seeded second and lost to sixth-seeded Fisher Catholic 25-20, 19-25, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10 in a district semifinal.
The Eagles defeated Granville Christian 25-22, 25-10, 25-22 on Oct. 4, marking Boggs' 300th career win. She finished the season with career 305 victories.
"The best part about that is that all the girls got to participate in it and that was special for me," said Boggs, who completed her 11th season leading the program. "It was fun, enjoyable and exciting."
Delaware Christian had three seniors, including the returning starters in outside hitters Lenora Boyer and Brenna McCullough. Boyer was named MOCAL Player of the Year and first-team all-district and McCullough was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
"We will miss Lenora's skill and Brenna's fire and passion, for sure," Boggs said. "The reason we got further this year (in the district tournament) than last year is because they were approachable leaders for all the young girls.
"Last year's five seniors didn't need the underclassmen, except for Lenora and Brenna. This year, our seniors needed the underclassmen to play well if we were going to succeed. They had to lead in a different manner and they did. Last year when we subbed, the underclassmen were comfortable or in sync with the seniors because they had always played together. It wasn't their fault, but the unity from the freshmen through the seniors was closer this year."
The Eagles expect to return four starters in junior Katy Sullivan (libero), sophomores Rachel Kirby (setter) and Sydney Manny (right-side hitter) and freshman Erin McCullough (middle hitter).
Also expected back are junior Bridget Cooper (middle hitter), sophomores Abbey Ruminski (defensive specialist) and BethAnn Tobin (outside hitter) and freshman Liz Sullivan (utility).
"I'm looking forward to next season," Boggs said. "Not much might be expected from us again next year, but I think the juniors learned how to lead and we've got some real good young girls with experience now. I love building and encouraging kids to achieve what others may not think they can achieve."