All Eagles in this one

By on April 17, 2019

Cocalico sweeps Ephrata 3-0 in key Section Two match

Cocalico’s Josh Martin (13) goes for the kill in front of Ephrata blockers Elias Long (1) and Zach Farlow (12) during Tuesday’s match. Photo by Denise Mitchell

Cocalico’s Josh Martin (13) goes for the kill in front of Ephrata blockers Elias Long (1) and Zach Farlow (12) during Tuesday’s match. Photo by Denise Mitchell

It’s hard to imagine a much better start for Peyton Stetter and his Cocalico volleyball teammates.

Stetter dropped a kill and two blocks as the Eagles scored the first five points of action at rival Ephrata in the Tuesday’s Community Benefit Match.

While scoring the first handful of points was nice, perhaps the way Cocalico never looked back was just as impressive as the Eagles rolled to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-19 sweep of the Mountaineers.

The hot start was especially important coming off Monday’s disappointing marathon five-set loss at Elizabethtown.

“It gives me a lot of confidence. My blocking is not always the best, so if I get a couple to start, it tells me I can do it,” said Stetter. “It was nice to bounce back.”

Cocalico improved to 4-2 in Section Two and 7-2 overall. Eagles coach Dwayne Kieffer liked the moxie shown by is group less than 24 hours after a gut-wrenching defeat.

“They actually played really well last night,” he said “They knew that loss hurt us, but they just had to come out strong and keep fighting through the pain and that is what they did.

“I’ve got such a resilient group of kids. They do what they need to do. I am proud of them. Each and every one of them brings a different aspect to this game.”

After Ephrata got on the board, Stetter scored two of the next three points on kills for a 7-2 lead that increased to 10-2.

A short while later, Avery Stark (9 kills) blasted a big kill of a Patrick Koller feed and it was 20-11.

“It was very helpful that we came out powerful,” said Koller.

The start of the second set may have shown Ephrata it was going to be one of those nights. Even with the community event the Mounts just couldn’t sustain any momentum.

Devon Eshelman’s kill looked to put Ephrata ahead in the set, but the point was reversed because a Mounts’ player was ruled in the net. Cocalico scored the next three, two of which came on Koller aces.

Moments later, Stark’s two kills and a block led to another 10-2 lead. Although Ephrata managed to close the set to 24-20, the Eagles went up two games.

Another fast start buoyed Cocalico, who went up 9-4 in the third, but the Mounts fought back and tied the set at 13. However, the Eagles answered with three straight, part of a 5-1 run capped by an ace from Isaiah Ugalde.

Much like the night began, Stetter kills made it 24-18, and the senior ended the match by dinking his eighth kill over the block.

“We’ve been practicing placing the ball, not just going and trying to pound it down all the time,” said Kieffer. “When you are going up to swing, you’ve got to look at the court.”

In his first year as a setter, Koller is finding his way to spread the ball around to his teammates. The senior finished with 18 assists.

“I feel great,” he said. “I have so many people I can trust, with Avery, Tyler (Eberly), Peyton. I have to many weapons that I can go to anyone and they can put the ball down.”

“Every game we play, he is getting a little bit better,” Kieffer said. “He still tries for force some things, but being a first-year setter, running our quick offense, he stepped into that role.”

Ethan Sensenig led Ephrata (2-4, 3-4) with eight kills. Elias Long added 12 digs.

Prior to the match, Mounts coach Bob Witmer addressed the home crowd, saying the volleyball community is a strong one. The two rivals shared a common bond, honoring former Cocalico player Tony Sweigart and family.

Sweigart, a 1985 Cocalico grad, was diagnosed the Clarkson’s Disease last August and continues to battle with the rare affliction, also known as Idiopathic Systemic Capillary Leak Syndrome.

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Both teams entered Tuesday’s match off a pair of tough 3-2 losses as Ephrata dropped a 3-2 decision to Lancaster Mennonite Thursday while Cocalico was knocked off 3-2 by host Elizabethtown Monday.

In Ephrata loss to the Blazers, LMH took the deciding set by a 15-12 count after the teams split the first four (24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25).

Jose Laguer Seda and Ethan Sensenig both had 21 digs apiece for Ephrata, while Connor Komancheck (33 assists, three aces), Elias Long (three blocks) and Jordan Buch (three blocks) all chipped in for the Mounts in the tough loss.

In Monday’s 20-25, 33-31, 25-23, 21-25, 15-8 E-town victory over the Eagles, Cocalico got a whopping 21 kills, five blocks and eight digs from Stark to lead the way. Koller added 37 assists for the Eagles while Ugalde served up a pair of aces in the loss.

Up next, Ephrata travels to Elizabethtown Thursday before another road match at Garden spot next Tuesday.

Cocalico faces host Wyomissing Thursday in a non-league tilt before the Eagles get another shot at Section Two leader Manheim Central next Tuesday in Manheim.

 

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