Eagles fall to Hempfield in L-L League title match

By on May 20, 2015

 

Cocalico’s John Waskowicz spikes the ball past a Hempfield blocker in the L-L finals last Thursday. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

Cocalico’s John Waskowicz spikes the ball past a Hempfield blocker in the L-L finals last Thursday. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

The Cocalico Boys’ volleyball team ran into perennial power Hempfield in the Lancaster-Lebanon League championship match last Wednesday and fell 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-23) at Manheim Township High School.

The Eagles were making their first appearance in the final since 2000, while the Knights have been there 22 times in 23 years, winning the title 18 times.

“We knew we had to play our best,” Cocalico coach Dave Weaver said. “Unfortunately, they played well and we didn’t. Our inexperience at this level and our nerves showed, especially in the first set.”

Hempfield jumped out quickly in that set, as the Eagles only scored two of the first eight points. Cocalico tried to slow down the Knights over the next dozen points but despite calling two timeouts, found themselves down 17-3. The Eagles played even the rest of the way, but the damage was done and the teams changed sides after a 25-11 Hempfield win.

Cocalico struggled from the start with the variety serves coming from the Knights’ side of the net, keeping the Eagles from getting into any kind of rhythm.

“We worked a lot on exactly that,” Weaver said, “but we just didn’t execute.”

The second set was closer as Cocalico senior Mitch Stauffer (2 blocks and a kill) led the way to a 5-3 Eagle lead. However, a strong service series by Hempfield sophomore Matt Sheerin boosted a 9-2 run and the Knights went on to claim set two 25-17.

Set three was a nail biter, as Cocalico rallied from five-point deficits on two occasions, creeping closer and closer until they drew even at 23-all. As agonizing and exciting as the comeback was, the final two points were scored in a blink of an eye and Hempfield celebrated the L-L crown.

Stauffer led the Eagle attack with 10 kills while fellow senior John Waskowicz chipped in with six and senior setter Garrett Strunk assisted 26 times for the Cocalico swings.

On the defensive side, senior middle Matt Lawver had three solo blocks while Stauffer and senior outside Dylan Sattazahn had two apiece. Sattazahn also led the Eagles in digs with nine, helped by senior outside Nick Baxter and sophomore libero Deep Bhavani with six each.

After the L-L title had been decided, First and Second-Team Coaches All-Star selections were announced to those gathered at Manheim Township High School. Heading the list was Stauffer, who, in addition to his First-Team honor, was named Most Valuable Player of Section Two.

“I was real excited when they called my name,” Stauffer said, deflecting some of the personal award. “To have so many seniors playing together for four years, to have good teammates to challenge each other and get better together, that means the most.”

“He (Stauffer) definitely deserves the award,” Weaver added. “He’s been such an all-around player for us. In addition to his net play, he has passed well and served well.”

Joining Stauffer as a First-Team All-Star were Sattazahn and Strunk as well as Ephrata juniors Nick Farlow and Alex Modrzecki.

Section Two Second-Team All-Stars included Eagle players Baxter and Waskowicz, plus Hunter Lehman and Scott Waller from the Mounts.

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