The Cape Henlopen volleyball team had a successful 2018 campaign, finishing 9-6 overall to qualify for the DIAA Volleyball State Tournament.

While their tournament ride ended in the second round against No. 1 Padua Academy, the future of the program looks bright.

“We’re a relatively young team, with most of our match time experience coming from underclassmen,” said Cape Henlopen Head Coach Tyler Coupe. “They show a lot of promise and understanding, but they’re still physically growing into their bodies along with still learning how to become leaders themselves.”

This season, Cape dealt with adversity early on, dropping four of their first six matchups to fall into an early hole. However, they responded the rest of the way, winning seven of their last nine games to find their way into the state tournament.

After a strong regular season competing against some tough Henlopen Conference teams, the Lady Vikings turned their attention to the postseason. While making the playoffs wasn’t a new experience for the program, advancing past the opening round was. Over the past few seasons, Cape has done enough to get into the tournament, but haven’t been able to find a way to advance past the first round.

Cape Henlopen earned the No. 16 overall seed in the state tournament this season, drawing No. 17 Dover to open the tournament. The Lady Vikings battled a tough Lady Senators squad, splitting the first two sets before winning the fifth and final set 15-7 to advance to the second round drawing a tough matchup against No. 1 Padua Academy.  

Unfortunately, the top-seed Padua Pandas were just too much for Cape Henlopen, as they fell in straight sets, 3-0.

Despite the loss, they did give the Pandas a fight coming away with something to build upon for next season.

While the Lady Vikings will move on without seniors Mikiyah Ennals, Abby Bucklin and Mackenzie Parker, who brought some solid leadership to the team, Cape should return next season with plenty of talent.

Several underclassmen were a big part of the team’s success this season, including sophomores Jocelyn Leach, Erin Morrisey and Emily Lamb, along with juniors Abigail Derrickson and Teaghan VanBrunt, a group which should make up the core of next year’s team.

Throughout the season and especially in the playoffs, Cape proved to themselves that they can be a contender if they keep trending upward. However, they also proved to outsiders that they’re close to being a contender statewide.

“It shows the teams up North are seeing the work the Henlopen Conference are putting in as we continue to grow and prove we can be a volleyball power conference too,” said Coupe.