Eagles top the Bullets to earn PIAA berth

By on May 20, 2015

 

Cocalico’s Dylan Sattazhan (40) puts the Eagles ahead 11-9 in a see-saw battle for control of the third game in Districts against Brandywine Heights at the Hempfield gymnasium on Monday night. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Cocalico’s Dylan Sattazhan (40) puts the Eagles ahead 11-9 in a see-saw battle for control of the third game in Districts against Brandywine Heights at the Hempfield gymnasium on Monday night. (Photo by Mike Shull)

The Cocalico boys volleyball team is on its way to States.

With their 3-0 win (25-16, 25-16, 25-19) over Brandywine Heights on Monday night in the District Three Double-A quarterfinals at Hempfield High School in Landisville, the Eagles not only locked up a spot in the PIAA Tournament, but avenged a 3-0 loss to the Bullets on April 27.

The victory sent Cocalico to Wednesday’s semi-finals to face Northeastern, a 3-0 winner (25-15, 25-10, 25-17) over York Suburban.

The surprise of the night came with the first service as Cocalico coach Dave Weaver sent Matt Lawver to toe the line for the first time since his leg injury early in the season. The senior responded by running off four straight points and an early lead, which the Eagles never relinquished.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Lawver said of his coach’s decision. “I was working on the jump serve in practice.”

Lawver and fellow senior Nick Baxter led the way with double digit service scoring, a big part of the decisive victory.

“Our goal was to just keep our serves in,” Baxter added. “We knew that we had States on the line.”

The Eagles bolted to a 15-8 lead in game one before Brandywine called timeout in an attempt to slow the momentum. The tactic failed as seniors Mitch Stauffer and John Waskowicz led the offense front with five and three kills respectively while a service ace by Lawver closed out the 25-16 opener.

It was more of the same in the second game as Cocalico quickly found itself up by an 8-2 score, despite the Bullets height advantage. Brandywine’s front line boasted players that measured 6-foot-5, 6-foot-4, 6-foot-3 and a couple of players at 6-foot-2, but only registered six kills through the first two sets.

“We did a lot better than in the Hempfield match,” said Eagle libero Deep Bhavani, in referring to last week’s Lancaster-Lebanon League championship. “Normally, this is how we play.”

“I said to Deep before the match, ‘Nothing drops, nothing hits the floor,” Waskowicz added. “We had lost to them 3-0 at Brandywine, but tonight’s defense provided opportunities for the offense.”

The third game was more tightly contested, as the Bullets did locate a few cracks to knot the score at 16-all. But the Cocalico power game found another gear led by the senior contingent of Stauffer (2 kills, 1 block), Dylan Sattazahn (1 kill), Baxter (1 kill, I ace) and Waskowicz (the final kill) to finish off the number five seed 25-19.

So, what does that senior leadership mean to a sophomore like Bhavani?

“The seniors set a good example, not only for this year, but for the next few years,” he said.

It was a point with which Waskowicz agreed.

“I’d say it’s really important,” he said. “Everyone on the floor is really a leader.”

That leadership and teamwork will be challenged tonight (Wednesday) in the District semi-finals as Cocalico (18-4) faces number one seed Northeastern (15-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Central York High School.

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