Eagles complete season sweep of Ephrata

By on April 22, 2015
Cocalico’s Joel Smoker (facing, left to right), Mitch Stauffer and Dylan Sattazahn go up for the block at¬temtp against Nick Farlow (25) of Ephrata as the Mounts’ Sandron Yang (10) looks on during Tuesday’s match in Denver. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Cocalico’s Joel Smoker (facing, left to right), Mitch Stauffer and Dylan Sattazahn go up for the block attempt against Nick Farlow (25) of Ephrata as the Mounts’ Sandron Yang (10) looks on during Tuesday’s match in Denver. (Photo by Stan Hall)

All three games were tight, but Cocalico ruled the court in the backyard battle with Ephrata in Section Two boys’ volleyball in Denver Tuesday night. The 3-0 game score was a bit deceiving as the Eagles (8-0 League, 9-1 Overall) swept the Mounts (3-5, 5-7) by a tight 25-21, 25-20, 25-23 margin.

All three games were either tied or in Ephrata’s favor past the 15-point mark, but Cocalico was able to find an extra gear in all three to finish off the shutout.

Case in point, Game One was tied 21-all before the Eagles ran off the last four points to close out the game. In Game Two, an 18-18 deadlock was broken when Cocalico ran off seven of nine counters. And the finale found the Mounts up 17-16 before the Eagles took the lead for good in a 3-0 burst. The two teams split the final 12 points to close out the Cocalico victory.

The two clubs faced earlier this season on March 26 at Ephrata. Cocalico also won that match 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, and 25-12).

“We played well enough to win, but that was all,” said a somewhat disappointed Eagles Coach Dave Weaver. “We’re lucky they weren’t on tonight. We have to be ready to play every night. That’s part of being a successful team.”

Ephrata skipper Bob Witwer talked about an issue that has been plaguing the Mounts all year, and again on this night.

“We’re a little young,” he said. “We’re good, but we make mistakes at critical times in the games.”

The Eagles came into the match ranked sixth in the state in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll, following last week’s 3-0 win over then #6 Lancaster Mennonite.

“Everyone knows how good Cocalico is,” added Witwer. “They have tremendous senior leadership and presence.”

Statistically, the Eagles were led by senior middle hitter Mitch Stauffer, whose 14 kills were often rally killers. He also led the defense with five solo blocks. Fellow senior Garrett Strunk controlled the net by dishing out 28 assists and coming up with 14 digs. The Mounts were led by a couple of juniors as Nick Farlow lit the scoreboard for 16 kills, two blocks and 12 digs, while Alex Modrzecki had 25 assists.

“Garrett does an excellent job moving the ball around,” added Weaver. “He knows who to set in certain situations and keeps the other team off balance.”

Witwer also had kind words for his quarterback.

“Alex is probably the best setter I’ve had at Ephrata,” he said. “As long as we can give him a good pass, he’ll have success.”

As to his big right arm in the middle, Witwer commented, “Everyone knows the kind of player Nick is. He takes 50-70 percent of the passes and swings, so he’s a dynamic player.”

And on how to stop Farlow?

“You try to serve away from him,” explained Weaver. “Then we try to build our block in front of him.”

Up next for the Eagles is a Section Two tilt in Denver against Manheim Central Thursday evening. They also host the 26th annual Eagle Challenge on Saturday, as they take on 13 teams including five other Lancaster-Lebanon League competitors.

Looking ahead, Cocalico faces Mennonite (7-1) again in the section season finale on May 6.

The Mounts are off until Saturday, when they return to Denver for the Eagle Challenge Tournament, where the two teams could face again.

In addition to Tuesday’s contest, Ephrata also was in action Monday night where the Mounts rolled to an easy 3-0 victory over McCaskey.

In the 25-17, 25-11, 25-21 victory, Farlow collected 26 kills to lead the Mounts. Trey Farlow chipped in with a pair of blocks while Sandron Yang churned out 25 digs. Modrzecki added 32 assists in the win.

Last Thursday in non-league action, Ephrata dropped a hard-fought 3-0 decision to Lancaster Mennonite.

In the 25-16, 26-24, 25-21 loss, Farlow had 11 kills and three blocks for the Mounts. Yang, Hunter Lehman and Zach Schaller each served up an ace Modrzecki chipped in with 19 assists. Schaller also contributed a team-high 12 digs on the night.

Cocalico also was in action Thursday when the Eagles rolled to an easy 3-0 victory over Lebanon.

In the 25-16, 25-12, 25-8 victory, Nick Baxter served up a total of eight aces to lead the way. Stauffer contributed three kills and three blocks while Deep Bhavani (9 digs) and Joel Smoker (31 assists) also chipped in for the Eagles.

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