Volleyball: Super 7 No. 2

Maria Nicolaides and Garnet Valley are the new No. 1.  TIMES STAFF/JULIA WILKINSON

Maria Nicolaides and Garnet Valley are the new No. 1.
TIMES STAFF/JULIA WILKINSON

Alllllllllllllll righty then, it’s been a few days (read: weeks) since the original Super 7 and things have changed just a smidge since then. The original No. 1 is no longer, teams are falling and dropping and we’ve got a newcomer to the group. For those of you new to this (I was on a volleyball sabbatical last year), this is the same Super 7 that will appear in tomorrow’s Daily Times. However, I do like to explain my picks and highlight a few big performances and such. Anyway, shall we?

1. Garnet Valley (7-2) Last week: No. 3.

Well, yes, this was a very easy pick after the Jaguars made surprisingly quick work of previous No. 1 Strath Haven. Those two blemishes in the loss column came Saturday as coach Mark Clark must have been really mad at his team scheduled District One powers Upper Merion AND Villa Maria in the same day. It was impressive that Garnet Valley got one game off the mighty Vikings and I just assume that they were probably worn down against the Hurricanes. Jenna Hostetler is staking a claim to being Delco’s best libero and Brianna PlushKiley Price and Maria Nicolaides have been consistently strong. I love this team’s depth and man, are the Jaguars fun to watch when they play defense.

2. Strath Haven (8-2) Last week: No. 1

The Panthers didn’t look quite right in the loss against the Jaguars, but they’ll be fine. Alice Roberts has been a consistent force night in and night out and Bridget Scott has turned in some big hitting nights. I was very impressed with freshman middle blocker Brianna Fisher against Garnet Valley and coach Kevin Haney has gotten some good outings from libero Maura Gibbs. It seems like there’s a clear two-time hierarchy in the Central League, so I’d be surprised if it’s not Strath Haven-Garnet Valley for the league title for the third straight year.

3. Sun Valley (8-2) Last week: No. 5

Nice little boost for the Vanguards as they’ve really shown that they deserve to be here. Tournament matches don’t usually get tabulated in season records, but they do matter a bit here. Sun Valley beat both Penncrest and Cardinal O’Hara in the Penncrest tournament and later added an impressive win over Archbishop Carroll, so take the elevator up a couple slots, Vanguards. Chelsea Jones is putting up some odd-looking – in a good way – stat lines as she’s serving as a middle blocker from the front row and setter from the back row. Not a common combination. Madison McCunney is putting up strong outings on the outside and Mallorie Estock is a digs machine. Can’t justify Sun Valley over Strath Haven because the Panthers crushed the Vanguards in the season opener, but Sun Valley is rolling.

4. Cardinal O’Hara (8-0) Last week: No. 2

Tournament loss to the Vanguards and Garnet Valley’s rise means the Lions dip a little, but not much. O’Hara is doing whatever it wants, however it wants to many of its Catholic League foes. Meghan Czapka and Caitlin Fitz are putting away big kills and Nicole Poissant is turning in solid work as a setter. A 3-1 win over Archbishop Wood established some hierarchy in the Catholic League. Well, behind Lansdale Catholic, anyway.

5. Penncrest (9-2) Last week: Not ranked.

I didn’t know what to expect from the Lions coming into the season, but I liked what I saw from them against Radnor last week. Granted, the Raiders are rebuilding, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that libero Andrea Hartman is good against anyone. Freshman Diana Balta is drawing rave reviews across the league and Jenn Davidson offers up some versatility. You can do a lot worse than Gianna Gargiule at setter, too.

6. Haverford (7-4) Last week: No. 4

Arden Vizzard‘s move to libero from outside hitter isn’t something you see every day, but coach Helen Fitzpatrick raved about her senior leader and the job she’s doing. The Fords took a game from Garnet Valley and played the Jaguars tough the whole way, so they can hang with the better teams. Impressive sweeps of Conestoga and Ridley and a win over Hatboro-Horsham stand out. Bridget Newman is dominating at the net and Katie Lane is doing really nice things as a setter.

7. Archbishop Carroll (4-3) Last week: No. 6

That 3 in the loss column is a tad misleading because the Patriots lost to some really good teams, all in a row. Sun Valley, Archbishop Wood and Lansdale Catholic. Yeesh. But you’d like to see them take at least one game from either of the PCL foes, something they couldn’t do. A nonleague date with District One power Mount St. Joseph looms, too. All-Delco Sarah Layfield is pacing the Carroll effort. 

Dropped out: Ridley. Also considered: None.

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