Verona High School volleyball earned its second NJSIAA Group 1 championship on Sunday, beating Delaware Valley.
Playing on neutral ground at Franklin High School in Somerset, Verona breezed through the first set against the North 1, Group 1 title winner, earning a 25-12 victory. Delaware Valley rallied in the second set and came close to forcing a third. But Verona held strong and the set ended with a 25-23 Verona win.
Verona volleyball has amassed an impressive string of wins over the past decade, from County and Divisional titles to Sectional and Group wins. Verona last held the Group 1 crown in 2017, when it beat Bogota.
But this year’s team had challenges that previous Verona squads hadn’t faced. Many of its seniors started their varsity careers in the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021 played for a championship–in facemasks–just days before many of the starters would also begin playing on the softball team.
This season, VHS beat Cedar Grove for the North 2, Group 1 Sectionals. The team went on to beat Kinnelon in the Group 1 semifinals last week. Verona was 25-4 overall, and 12-1 in the Super Essex Conference.
Sunday’s game was the last for the seniors, who have their own impressive statistics. Emily Theobald, who played varsity all four years at VHS, had 308 service points with 84 aces, as well as 273 kills. Fellow four-year starter Marley Kramer established herself as the ace of saves, totaling 1,407 assists in her varsity career, as well as 394 service points. Katie Meehan totaled 415 service points including 91 aces in three years on the team and Cara DeMars had 167 service points and 51 aces in her three years. Kendra Santos was a varsity starter for just two years, but had 323 kills to her credit by the end.
“Throughout the season, our volleyball team has exhibited exceptional teamwork, relentless spirit, and a strong determination to succeed,” said VHS Athletic Director Laura Palmerezzi. “This Group championship is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our student-athletes and Coach Brown.”
“Congratulations to our volleyball team on their remarkable Group 1 Championship victory,” Palmerezzi added. “They have made our school, our community, and everyone associated with our athletics program incredibly proud.”
Photos copyright Mike Perry. Used by permission.