MATAMORAS — The Dallas girls volleyball team took its best shot against unbeaten Delaware Valley on Thursday in a key Wyoming Valley Conference showdown.
And for awhile, the Mountaineers flirted with an upset, winning game two to even the match at 1-1.
But in the process, they woke up a sleeping giant – Emily Dorko.
The Warriors’ all-stater took charge at the outset of game three, sparking Delaware Valley to a 3-1 victory over Dallas in a match that had all the intensity of a playoff battle. The scores were 25-18, 15-25, 25-14, 25-23.
Delaware Valley (13-0) remained tied with Holy Redeemer (13-0) for first place in the WVC. The Warriors will host the Royals next Wednesday in a match that will likely decide the champion. Dallas (10-2) remains in third place, a half-game ahead of Lake-Lehman (9-2).
“We didn’t come out ready to play in game two,” said Dorko, who wound up with 13 kills, four blocks and four service points. “Our heads just weren’t in the game.”
Led by senior hitters Shauna Phillips and Sarah Flannery, Dallas posted an impressive 25-15 win in game two after dropping the first game.
However, Delaware Valley came out fired up in game three, thanks to Dorko’s aggressiveness. The Warriors took a 3-0 lead on a kill and two blocks by Dorko, a 5-foot-10 senior who can virtually jump over the net.
Delaware Valley opened a 14-7 lead on two straight kills by senior Corinne Negron and cruised to a 25-14 win.
“We’re a very good team,” Dorko said. “When we get ahead we need to stay ahead. (Falling behind) is not an option.”
The Warriors also got a big effort from the 5-10 Negron, who had 14 kills and seven service points. Time after time Negron came up with slams that kept Dallas on the run, including a pair of kills in game four that enabled the Warriors to draw even at 20-20 and 22-22.
That set the table for Dorko, who sealed the deal with the game-winning spike.
“We know that Dorko is a great player, but we weren’t ready for Negron,” said Dallas coach Mike Williams. “She really surprised us.”
Negron downplayed her performance.
“I received some really good sets and our fans had us pumped up. I jumped higher than usual and I was swinging hard.”
Phillips led Dallas with nine kills, three blocks and four service points. Flannery also was superb, posting five kills, seven blocks and six service points.
“Dallas is an excellent team,” Dorko said. “Phillips is very good, She swings hard and is tough to block.”
According to Phillips, Delaware Valley lived up to hits lofty billing.
“They came out strong and we weren’t exactly on top of our game. We came back and played hard, and I think we made a statement.”
Chelsea Malzahn had four kills, six blocks and 10 service points for Delaware Valley. Katrina Heintz had five kills for the Mountaineers, while Meghan Murtagh had 18 assists and two blocks.
“We’re looking forward to playing Holy Redeemer,” said Dorko. “It would mean a lot to win the league championship.”