Ursuline's Abigail Rzucidlo spikes a point against Saint Mark's

Ursuline's Abigail Rzucidlo spikes a point against Saint Mark's

While some sports are starved for parity, volleyball was very tough to rank as DIAA championship season begins this week.

Despite a loss, Ursuline vaulted up to No. 1 after going to Padua and escaping with a 4-set win. You could make a case for those 2, Archmere, and Wilmington Charter at the top.

Meanwhile, in Division 1 football, while it appears 5 of the 6 teams are pretty close to set, Sussex Tech's 61-6 rout of Smyrna forced some extra thought on how those teams should be ranked.

FOOTBALL

Division 1

1 Middletown (7-1, Last Week: 1)

2 Hodgson (8-0, 2)

3 Sussex Central (7-1, 3)

4 Dover (7-1, 4)

5 Salesianum (6-2, 5)

6 Sussex Tech (4-4, 8)

7 Smyrna (2-5, 6) 

8 St. Georges (4-4, 7) 

9 Caesar Rodney (5-3, 9)

10 Appoquinimink (5-3, 10)

DROPPED OUT: None

Salesianum found a way on a rainy night to reverse last year's loss to Westminster, and certainly solidified both their playoff standing and rankings... Smyrna's performance against Sussex Tech not only warrants a demotion, but likely being knocked out of the top 10, but talent still remains. Their ceiling is better than the teams below them, but they really only get one last chance to show the strength that puts them near the middle of the rankings... Besides them, and Sussex Tech's boost for the win, not too many changes were needed.

GAME TO WATCH: Salesianum at Smyrna (Friday, 7:00 - WDEL) - At this point Smyrna is only playing for pride, while Salesianum could still put themselves into a tricky playoff qualifying situation with a loss, given they have a Division 2 game with Saint Mark's left. Salesianum likes to run, which was the calling card for Sussex Tech last week, can Smyrna get their linebacking corps back healthy to slow down Andrew Watkins?

Division 2

1 Delmar (8-0, 1)

2 A.I. duPont (7-0*, 2)

3 Friends (6-1, 3)

4 Archmere (7-1, 4)

5 Woodbridge (6-2, 5)

6 Howard (6-2, 6)

7 DMA (5-3, 8)

8 Milford (5-3, X)

9 Saint Mark's (4-4, 7) 

10 Tower Hill (7-1, 10)

*- A.I. DuPont led Christiana 14-0 when their game was suspended in the 2nd quarter. The game has been officially listed as a scrimmage on the school's official websites, so we're going to not count it as a game.

DROPPED OUT: Saint Elizabeth (4-4, 9)

Milford enters, while Saint Elizabeth drops out, using the comparative scores of their Laurel games... Tower Hill still remains ranked mostly because of their record, but they still don't have a quality win... Everyone else took care of business, with Woodbridge opening some eyes with the score of the Saint Mark's game.

GAME TO WATCH: Delmar at Milford (Friday, 7:00, ESPN930/102.1FM) - Delmar begins their 2-game road trip to fellow Henlopen South-leaders Milford and Woodbridge with the game against the Bucs. Delmar has allowed just 15 points since September 15, while Milford has looked strong in their wins (under 4 points allowed per game), they've given up 30 or more points in their losses.

VOLLEYBALL

1 Ursuline (11-2, 4)

2 Archmere (14-1, 2) 

3 Padua (13-2, 1) 

4 Wilmington Charter (13-2, 3)

5 Saint Mark's (8-7, 5)

6 Friends (9-6, 6) 

7 Conrad (12-3, 8)

8 Tower Hill (9-6, 10)

9 DMA (9-6, 7) 

10 Newark Charter (9-6, 9)

DROPPED OUT: None

An extremely tricky ranking, as Ursuline, Archmere, and Padua went 1-1 against each other in the last 10 days. A case can be made for all three, but Ursuline gets the nod with the return of Corinne Furey adding another weapon. That trio and Wilmington Charter can avoid each other until the semifinals, and if that works out, it would be an amazing evening at Saint Mark's... Below that group, Friends' loss to Tower Hill jumped up the Hillers, while Red Lion is just outside the top 10 after a win over DMA

GAME TO WATCH: DMA vs. Tower Hill (Saturday, 6pm at Ursuline) - This potential 2nd round match-up, Tower Hill must defeat Sussex Central, would be the only game between top 10 teams in that round.

BOYS SOCCER

Division 1

1 Salesianum (12-2, 1)

2 Appoquinimink (10-2-2. 2)

3 Wilmington Charter (9-3-1, 3) L Sallies

4 Caesar Rodney (11-3, 4)

5 Cape Henlopen (11-2-1, 5)

DROPPED OUT: William Penn (10-2, 4)

Division 2

1 Caravel (9-2-1, 1)

2 Indian River (12-1, 2)

3 Archmere (13-1, 3)

4 Friends (13-0, 4)

5 Sussex Academy (9-3-2, 5)

DROPPED OUT: NONE

Delcastle ends the Division 1 regular season with the best record, but their 3-0 loss to Appo is their only top-5 result, although they do hold a win over William Penn... Nothing to change in Division 2, 14-0 Brandywine was considered for 5th, but a very weak schedule will likely hurt their playoff seeding, although Tuesday's Friendship Cup against Concord will be a nice test.

GAME TO WATCH: Caravel at Tower Hill (Tuesday, 6:15) - The Hillers are playing better soccer of late, while the Bucs are perfect against Division 2 opposition... Should be a strong litmus test as the Bucs begin a 3-game week (Dover and St. Georges, the latter of which at Talen Energy)

FIELD HOCKEY

Division 1

1 Cape Henlopen (14-1, 1)

2 Polytech (11-3, 3)

3 Sussex Tech (11-2-1, 4)

4 Smyrna (8-5-1, 5)

5 Padua (12-1, 2) 

DROPPED OUT: NONE

Division 2

1 Delmar (14-0, 1)

2 Tower Hill (11-2, 2)

3 Caravel (13-1, 3)

4 Lake Forest (10-3-1, 4)

5 Indian River (8-5, 5)

DROPPED OUT: None

Padua's 6-0 loss to Cape Henlopen didn't help the standing of New Castle County teams when compared against the Henlopen Conference... The Division 2 went perfect against in-division opponents.

GAME TO WATCH – Padua vs. Ursuline (Tuesday, 3:45 at Kirkwood Soccer) - Ursuline will look to split the Catholic Conference title after a 3-2 Padua win at the Turf Bowl. They'll be on the synthetic turf at Kirkwood, which should make for similiar, fast conditions.

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

Division 1

1 Salesianum (1)

2 Wilmington Charter (2)

3 Caesar Rodney (3)

4 Concord (4)

5 Polytech (5)

DROPPED OUT: None

Division 2

1 Tatnall (1)

2 Saint Andrew's (2)

3 Friends (3)

4 Saint Mark's (4)

5 Newark Charter (5)

DROPPED OUT: None

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Division 1

1 Padua (1)

2 Caesar Rodney (2)

3 Cape Henlopen (3)

4 Wilmington Charter (4)

5 Smyrna (5)

DROPPED OUT: NONE

Division 2

1 Ursuline (1)

2 Tatnall (2)

3 Saint Mark's (3)

4 Mount Pleasant (4)

5 Archmere (5)

DROPPED OUT: None

The Conference Championships didn't cause any alterations to the rankings.

RACES TO WATCH: New Castle County Championships (Saturday at Winterthur) - It's not quite Point to Point, but Winterthur's other athletic showcase is the final major time Division 1 and Division 2 runners will compete against each other this year.

WDEL/Delaware SportsZone Sports Director. National Sports Media Association's Delaware Sportscaster of the Year (2013).