Eagles fly past Crest

By on April 16, 2014
Cocalico's Matt Lawver (24) looks on as teammate Mitch Stauffer rips a shot over the net.

Cocalico’s Matt Lawver (24) looks on as teammate Mitch Stauffer rips a shot over the net.

Sometimes the quality of a team comes to the front when it wins while fatigued or even when not playing as well as the norm. You see it when a West-coast team has to come East to play an inferior opponent. Or a rested second division team is hosting a superior team playing the second night in a row. Somehow, the better team can find a way to win.

It happened again in non-league action Monday night in Denver, when the Cocalico boys volleyball team took out Section One’s Cedar Crest in three straight games, 25-12, 25-17 and 25-16.

Eagles Coach Dave Weaver admitted as much after the match.

“It was a challenge to play on a Monday, following 15 games on a Saturday,” he said, referring to this past Saturday’s Eagle Challenge Tournament hosted by Cocalico (see below). “We played just well enough to win.”

All three games were close at the midpoint. Game One was tied at 7-7 before Cocalico ran off an 18-5 stretch to close it out. Game Two saw the Falcons take an 11-9 lead before the Eagles burst to a 16-6 spurt and a two games to none lead. The final game was 12-11 in favor of Cocalico before another strong run of 13-5 ended the match.

The Eagles’ power game was consistent throughout, led by juniors Mitch Stauffer (17 kills) and Matt Lawver (10 kills) while setter Garrett Strunk paved the way with 36 assists.

Weaver agreed that Cedar Crest didn’t have an answer for his two big guns.

“We expected that coming in,” he said. “All five of our off season ‘club’ players have really developed due to that extra work and experience.”

Gavin Stark led the defense with 13 digs while Stauffer fronted the wall with three blocks.

The Eagles start the second half of Section Two play Thursday night at Elizabethtown (0-5, 0-7) in third place at 4-2 section and 6-2 overall. Their eyes are firmly focused on the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs and a AA berth in the District Three playoffs. They may not have been at their best on Monday night, but they were good enough to win easily. The good ones find a way.

As for the aforementioned “Eagle Challenge” Tournament this past Saturday, Cocalico hosted 14 teams from Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. After advancing from pool play, the Eagles blanked Holy Redeemer two games to none (25-20 and 25-22) in the quarterfinals, before falling in the semi-finals to Saint Joseph’s of New Jersey in three games (24-26, 25-14, 20-25).

Cocalico’s tournament record of 11-4 earned the Eagles a third-place finish in their third and final tournament of the season. Coach Dave Weaver confirmed that tournament results do not count toward the team’s overall record or its power ranking in the upcoming District Three and PIAA tournaments.

Other local participants in the “Eagle Challenge” included the Ephrata Mounts, who lost 25-18 to the Eagles and finished the tourney at 4-5. Section One’s ManheimTownship finished 5-4.

In addition to Monday, the Eagles also were in action last Thursday where they fell to Garden Spot by a 3-0 decision.

In the 25-17, 25-14, 25-15 loss, the Eagles were led by Stauffer, who had six kills and an ace.

As for Ephrata, the Mounts also were on the court last Thursday where they earned a 3-0 victory over Elizabethtown.

In the 25-22, 25-18, 25-14 victory, Nick Farlow collected 16 kills while Sandron Yang had 23 digs and three aces for the winners.

Scott Waller added three blocks in the victory.

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