Eagles knock off LMH

By on April 10, 2019
Cocalico’s Tyler Eberly (54) and Josh Martin (13) go up for the block against Lancaster Mennonite’s Graham Brubaker Tuesday. Photo by Denise Mitchell

Cocalico’s Tyler Eberly (54) and Josh Martin (13) go up for the block against Lancaster Mennonite’s Graham Brubaker Tuesday. Photo by Denise Mitchell

Despite the fact that Cocalico boys volleyball saw its sizable lead disappear in a first-set loss to Lancaster Mennonite, coach Dwayne Kieffer and the players were not concerned.

The Eagles had plenty of confidence to come back.

Even when a similar lead disappeared in the second set, that faith never wavered, and the team responded.

Mennonite had set point, but Cocalico took four of the final five points to take the second set, 29-27, then went on to post 25-19 and 25-22 in the next two to win the match, 3-1.

“We have parts where we play inconsistently and it’s frustrating,” said senior Avery Stark, who led the Eagles with 18 kills and four blocks. “But I know we can get over it. We’ve just got to practice hard and do it.”

“We just seem to come out with concrete feet in the very beginning,” Kieffer said. “The last three years it was always the second set we had concrete feet. This year it’s the first set, which I’d rather have it in the first so you can plow through.”

Cocalico improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Section Two.

Kieffer said he wasn’t concerned when the Eagles led 23-18, only to see the Blazers score six of the next seven points for a 25-24 lead in the second set.

Clint Wilson, who led Mennonite with 16 kills, put down kills for a pair of set points. However, a Stark kill put Cocalico ahead 27-26. Although Wilson tied the set, a net and four-hit violations gave the Eagles the set.

“I have a very good, resilient bunch of kids here and they really push through all the adversity when they need to and I have full confidence in them, said Kieffer.”

Peyton Stetter said the late-set drama was a little similar to the first set, but the senior knew his team would pull through.

“We’ve just got to flush it away and think what is in front of us and not what happened in the past,” said Stetter.

Keyed by a six-point run from four different players, Cocalico was in the driver’s seat of the third set, 22-15.

Stark notched a pair of kills, Stetter added another, while setter Patrick Koller (36 assists), had his dig hit the ground for a point, and Isaiah Ugalde dropped one of his team-high three aces.

Tyler Eberly finished off that set with an ace.

Still, Mennonite (3-2 overall, 2-2 Section Two) wasn’t going away quietly as a five-point run tied the fourth set at 15-all, which led to an 18-all score. However, a short while later, an ace by Eberly put Cocalico on the verge, 23-20.

Although the Blazers scored twice, a violation set up match point and Radislav Denisenko finished the match with an impressive block, getting to the ball just before Stetter.

Stetter, who led his team with seven digs, said the Eagles’ defense was huge in the match, which came only three days after the two teams split games during pool play of Penn Manor’s tournament.

“When we move our feet and get outside the blocks, we can cover each other and be able to pick stuff and get points,” he said. “That (block) was all Rad, I will give that one to him.”

With the ability to finish matches strong, Kieffer knows his team has a shot to do some great things.

“I’ve got the talent on the team that they are state material. I tell them every day at practice,” he said. “If they come together as one united team and play, we can take anyone and I feel confident about that.”

“We know our confidence level and feel like the better team going into every game. Sometimes it’s inconsistent, but we know we can win,” added Stark.

In addition to Tuesday’s match, Cocalico also was in action last Thursday at home where the Eagles scored a 3-1 victory over visiting Garden Spot.

In the 16-25, 25-14, 25-10, 25-23 victory, Koller delivered 26 assists and three blocks in the Eagle win. Stark added eight kills and Michael Pha collected four digs.

Ugalde also served up a pair of aces in the Cocalico win.

Up next, the Eagles travel to Elizabethtown next Monday and will also be on the road Tuesday at Ephrata.


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