Eagles up to the Challenge

By on April 17, 2013

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

The Cocalico boys volleyball team poses with the championship trophy at the 27th annual Eagle Challenge. Cocalico went a perfect 16-0 on the day to win the title. The members of the team include (front row, left to right): Jeremy Eshleman, Alex Genova, Justis Lorah, Johnny Pha and Garrett Strunk. (Back, l-r): Coach Dave Weaver, Dylan Sattazahn, Wes Rathman, Matt Lawver, Mike Carty, Mitch Stauffer, John Waskowicz and Coach Jon Weaver.

Cocalico did not get off to the kind of start Coach Dave Weaver envisioned for his team this season.

The Eagles closed out the first half of the Section Two season last Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Garden Spot which put them at just 2-5 in league play and left them searching for answers.

However, just when it appeared all hopes were beginning to fade, Cocalico put it all together Saturday in the 27th annual Eagle Challenge Tournament. And now, after going a perfect 16-0 en route to the tourney championship, there’s a new-found hope heading into the second-half of the year.

"The boys are finally starting to put things together after a disappointing start and I hope this is a turning point in our season," Weaver said of the title. "We made a couple adjustments to the lineup, but they are finally starting to understand what we are trying to teach them, plus they are starting to play together and gel a team."

The Eagles, who have a nice mix of veterans and youth, play four seniors and up to four sophomores. Saturday, in a tourney that included 12 teams from York, Lancaster, Berks and Delaware counties, in addition to two squads from the Pocono and Wilkes-Barre area, things suddenly clicked for the Eagles.

They met Lancaster Mennonite, a team they lost to by a 3-0 score back on March 28, in the semifinals Saturday and knocked off the Blazers in two-straight games, winning 25-19 and 25-23.

That placed Cocalico in the championship match opposite Wyomissing, and the Eagles kept their stellar play going by defeating the Hawks, 25-20 and 25-16 to clinch the title.

"It was great," Weaver said of the win. "They finally felt confident that they were putting it all together. It was a great stepping stone for them and hopefully they’ll keep it going and make a run in the second half of the season. That’s the team that I was expecting, and hopefully they can continue to play like that."

The Eagles did drop a five-game match to host Cedar Crest Monday night in a non-league match in Cornwall.

Cocalico won the first two games, 25-19 and 25-23 before the Falcons won the next two (25-23 & 30-28) to set up the deciding fifth game. In that one, CC put it away with a tight 22-20 victory.

Wes Rathman had a big evening at the net for the Eagles, collecting a whopping 22 kills to lead the team. John Waskowicz contributed nine blocks while Mitchell Stauffer served up an ace.

"We just came out flat," Weaver said of the loss. "I don’t know if we were tired from the weekend or over-confident…I don’t know what but that was disappointing after the way we played Saturday."

In their 3-1 loss to Garden Spot last Thursday, Cocalico took the first game, 25-21 before the Spartans reeled off three straight wins (25-17, 26-24, 25-23) to seal the Eagles’ fate.

Mike Carty had a team-high 12 kills and served up an ace. Matt Lawver chipped in with six blocks and Garrett Strunk also had an ace in the loss.

As for Ephrata, the Mounts were in action Tuesday night at McCaskey. Unfortunately, results of that match weren’t known as of press time.

Ephrata also was in action last Thursday at Elizabethtown where the Mounts posted a 3-0 victory over the Bears.

In the 25-23, 25-14, 25-17 victory, Jordan Shultz was the Mounts’ top hitter with 21 kills in the three games. Shultz also contributed two key services aces while Alex Modrzecki added a pair of blocks in the win. More VOLLEYBALL, page B-3

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