It had been more than four decades since DeLand-Weldon last won a regional championship in volleyball. All it took was outstanding performances from four seniors to rewrite the record books.
Hannah Cunningham had “the match of her life,” according to D-W coach Jay Schatz. The senior hitter led the Eagles with 19 kills in a 25-10, 25-23 win against Argenta-Oreana in Thursday’s Class 1A LeRoy regional championship.
“This is wonderful,” Schatz said. “We got (to the regional championship) three previous times in the last 10 years but we just weren’t able to finish it.”
Now they have.
Fellow seniors Haley Reynolds (eight kills, seven digs), Chloe Melvin (24 assists) and Peyton Lappin (11 digs) helped lead the Eagles to their first regional title in 42 seasons.
“You just never know when it’s going to come,” Schatz said.
The Eagles’ triumph was relatively drama-free. D-W jumped out to leads of 7-1 and 15-4 before easily winning the first set, then held a 24-21 advantage before the winning point after trailing the majority of the second game.
Schatz wasn’t worried when the second set turned out much closer than the first.
“We’ve played in (close sets) consistently and it usually goes down to the last point or two,” he said. “We won 26-24 in the (final set) of the ECIC tournament championship. We’ve consistently played those types of matches.”