Having a blast

By on April 15, 2015

Eagles dominate Blazers in first-place showdown

 Cocalico’s Dylan Sattazahn (40) avoids LMH blockers Jarred Sands (2) and Garyd Martin (1) with a shot during Tuesday’s big match in Denver. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico’s Dylan Sattazahn (40) avoids LMH blockers Jarred Sands (2) and Garyd Martin (1) with a shot during Tuesday’s big match in Denver. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico made a huge statement Tuesday night in Denver in its first place Section Two showdown with Lancaster Mennonite.

In the past, the Eagles may have let their early 1-0 lead slip away.

Not Tuesday.

Once Cocalico got on top, the Eagles simple pounced on the Blazers and carried that momentum through match point. When the smoke had finally cleared, the Eagles not only swept the Blazers, but did it convincingly.

Mitch Stauffer collected a team-high 15 kills to go along with three aces as the Eagles (6-0 Section Two, 7-1 overall) handed Mennonite (5-1, 7-1) it’s first loss, 25-23, 25-14 and 25-14 to take over sole possession of first place in Section Two.

“We’ve been focused on this,” Stauffer said of the head-to-head matchup with the blazers. “The entire season, and ever since last season we’ve always been looking toward Mennonite. They have been one of our biggest rivals all four years and this is the first time we’ve ever beat them. We were really excited to play them. We were all pumped up coming into this and we’re just excited to have played the way we did.”

In the past, Cocalico may not have been able to sustain early success over the course of a match. But according to Coach Dave Weaver, this team has that killer instinct.

“What I like about this team is they don’t quit playing,” Weaver said following the victory. “Last year and the year before they weren’t confident enough to make that last play or make that last point. That’s the difference this year. They are confident enough that they can go out and make a play.”

In Tuesday’s match, winning Game One was essential. And the Eagles found a way to get it done with a late surge. Mennonite led 17-13 before the Eagles reeled off seven-straight points to take a 20-17 advantage. Then after the Blazers tied it at 20-20 and again at 23-23, the Eagles won the last two points to win the game. Senior John Waskowicz gave the Eagles the 24-23 with a kill before Stauffer’s touch shot closed out Game One in Cocalico’s favor.

“That was definitely the key to win that first game,” Weaver said. “We had some good serving and our defense kept us in the game. Then once we got our defense going it led to our offense. Just back and forth and the kids responded with the win.”

Cocalico carried the momentum into Game Two, and after trailing 5-2 early, the Eagles responded with seven-straight points to grab a 9-5 advantage. They never trailed again as they finished off Game Two with a 15-4 run to earn the 25-14 and take full command. Stauffer once again closed it out, this time with an ace to put his team up 2-0.

“This year we’ve really been practicing not letting a team comeback once we have them down,” Stauffer said. “A lot of times (in the past) that happened to us. We’d get a team down and then they’d come back and win three games. That’s something we’ve been working on, just coming out and never slowing down, and it obviously paid off after that first game. We were able to keep them down and we never left them get back up.”

Game Three was more of the same as Cocalico grabbed a 3-2 lead early and never relented. They built the lead to 20-10 before eventually closing it out at 25-14 to seal the huge win.

“That was Cocalico volleyball right there,” Weaver said. “If they realize the confidence to play that’s what they can do. They just played a great all-around game and took Lancaster Mennonite out in three games.”

Stauffer said he hopes his team can use that confidence moving forward.

“We are definitely excited and we are going to try to keep the intensity level up,” he said. “There are no teams that are just going to roll over for us. We got to just keep going strong and keep it rolling.”

In addition to Stauffer, Nick Baxter collected three aces and 14 digs. Garrett Strunk added 32 assists while Gavin Stark and Dylan Sattazahn each contributed a block.

The Blazers were led by Jarred Sands, who had nine kills and an ace. Garyd Martin added four blocks and 22 assists while Eric Weaver collected 19 digs in the loss.

In addition to Tuesday’s action, the Eagles earned a pair of Section two victories late last week.

Last Wednesday, Cocalico scored a 3-0 win over Garden Spot. In the 25-11, 25-11, 25-12 win, Stauffer had six aces, 12 kills and three blocks to lead the way. Sattazahn added nine digs while Strunk contributed 25 assists in the Cocalico win.

The Eagles defeated Elizabethtown by a 3-0 score last Thursday.

In the 25-17, 25-21, 25-19 win, Stauffer had 11 kills and two blocks while Sattazahn chipped in with two blocks and seven digs. Waskowicz also contributed a pair of aces to go along with seven digs, and Strunk had 25 assists for the winners.

On Friday, Cocalico did suffer its first non-tournament loss of the season in a non-league match vs. Schuylkill Valley. This one was tight throughout but SV earned the victory three games to one (25-19, 28-30, 29-27, 25-21).

Stauffer had a big night at the net for Cocalico, collecting 29 kills and three blocks. Baxter served up a pair of aces while Strunk had seven digs and 53 assists. Isaac Carpenter added seven digs for the Eagles.

While Cocalico and Mennonite were locking horns Tuesday, Ephrata was in top form as the Mounts cruised to a 3-0 victory over Elizabethtown.

In the 25-14, 25-15, 28-26 victory, Nick Farlow had 19 kills while Ryan Burkholder served up four aces for Ephrata. The Mounts also got 33 assists from Alex Modrzecki, as well as three blocks from Scott Waller and 19 digs from Sandron Yang in the victory.

With the win, Ephrata evened its Section Two mark at 3-3 and improved to 4-5 overall.

In addition to Tuesday’s match vs. E-town, Ephrata also was in action last Thursday at Manheim Central where the Mounts dropped a tight 3-2 decision to the host Barons.

With the score tied two games apiece, the Barons prevailed in the fifth and deciding game by a 15-7 decision to earn the team victory.

Farlow had team highs in kills (15), blocks (1) and digs (9) to lead the way for Ephrata. Colt Willwerth also served up four aces while Modrzecki contributed 23 assists for the Mounts in the losing effort.

Up next, Ephrata travels to Lancaster Mennonite Thursday night at 7 p.m. Monday night, Ephrata will host McCaskey before traveling to Cocalico on Tuesday.

As for the Eagles, they travel to Lebanon Thursday and will compete at the Warwick Tournament Saturday at 9 a.m.

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