Mounts need win Wednesday to claim program’s first title

By on May 11, 2016
Ephrata’s Hunter Lehman drills a shot over the net Monday vs. Manheim Central. Photo by Steve Heydt.

Ephrata’s Hunter Lehman drills a shot over the net Monday vs. Manheim Central. Photo by Steve Heydt.

The Ephrata Boys’ volleyball team controlled the final points in each of the three sets Monday night at Manheim Central, taking a 3-0 victory while clinching a tie for the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two Title.

The Barons (8-3 League, 10-4 overall) led throughout most of the first set and were up 20-16 before the Mounts (10-1, 15-1) scored nine of the last 11 points to close out the first set 25-22.

“We had opportunities to win all three games,” Said Manheim coach Craig Dietrich. “Once we got into the 20’s, they (Ephrata) had a lot more urgency.”

“The difference is experience, it really is,” added Ephrata coach Bob Witwer. “It’s tough though, when there’s something on the line, like a section title.”

Ephrata has a one game lead over Lancaster Mennonite (9-2, 12-2) and can clinch its first Section championship with a win this evening (Wednesday) hosting Elizabethtown (2-9) at the Ephrata Middle School.

Monday, the Mounts were only behind once (3-2) in the second set, but the younger, banged up Barons stayed tough, tying the set 9-9 and pulling within one at 19-18 before Ephrata scored six of the last seven points to capture set two 25-19.

The third set went down to the wire as the Mounts held small leads throughout until the Baron’s three point run evened things at 19-19. Ephrata collected two straight finesse points at the net for a 21-19 lead that they never gave up. Neither team scored on their own serve the rest of the way as the Mounts celebrated after the narrow 25-23 triumph.

“We know they are consistent,” described Witwer. “They (Manheim) keep the ball on the court with their defense and hustle. We knew we’d be all right as long as we played good defense and got our swings.” Ephrata did get their swings, led by Senior two time all-star Nick Farlow with 24 kills, Senior Hunter Lehman (7) and Sophomore Trey Farlow (5).

“It came down to just a couple of plays in each set,” noted Dietrich. “They (Ephrata) played more evenly and didn’t give up as many big runs as we did.”

The Barons were playing their third straight match without team-leading setter Ben Burkhart, who broke a bone in his hand last week against Lancaster Mennonite. His replacement, fellow soph omore Tanner Stauffer distributed the ball for 24 assists in his absence.

“We had some different personnel and a lot of new contributors,” noted Dietrich. “We even used some new serving specialists. We were looking for any edge when the margin of victory is so thin.”

Senior captain Zach Wagner led the Central offense with 12 kills and three service aces while freshman Brandyn Musser chipped in with two aces while sophomore Gabriel Stewart contributed five kills. Defensively, freshman Mason Nissley kept the ball off the floor with 10 digs and defended the net with five blocks.

The Mounts had two players with two aces each, as senior co-captains Alex Modrzecki and Lehman successfully toed the service line. Modrzecki also set up the swings with 32 assists. Fellow senior Larry Rupp led a strong return core with 18 digs, followed closely by Nick Farlow (17) and brother Trey with 13.

The Farlow brothers also anchored the blocking wall as Nick collected two solo blocks and Trey one.

Manheim wraps up Section play tonight (Wednesday) at Garden Spot. Both teams have already clinched spots in the L-L Playoffs, which will begin with quarterfinal action Friday, May 14, 6 & 7:30 p.m., hosted by the section champions.

Both MC and Ephrata are also positioned for success in the District Three Tournament as the Barons are fifth in the AA power rankings and the Mounts are currently fourth in AAA.

In addition to Monday, Ephrata also recorded a 3-0 victory over Garden Spot last Thursday evening in New Holland.

In the 25-20, 25-20, 25-22 Mount victory, Nick Farlow scored a whopping 29 kills while Modrzecki dished out 52 assists. Trey Farlow added 18 digs and an ace for the winners.

Cocalico, meanwhile, also enjoyed a successful week, going 3-0 for the week.

Monday night at Elizabethtown, the Eagles (5-6 section, 9-7 overall) captured a 3-0 victory, winning by scores of 25-15, 25-12 and 25-15.

Nick Baxter churned out a team-leading 20 kills and 12 digs while Gavin Stark chipped in with 25 assists in the victory.

Adin Frey also contributed four aces the Eagle victory.

The Eagles also were in action last Thursday where they posted a 3-1 non-league victory over Cedar Crest.

In the 25-22, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20 Cocalico win, Baxter led the way with 27 kills while Stark added 18 assists and three aces.

Cocalico added a 3-0 victory over Cedar Cliff last Wednesday night. In that one (25-12, 25-15, 25-22), Baxter had 10 kills, four blocks and five aces in the win.

The Eagles close out the regular season Wednesday night as they host Lancaster Mennonite at 7 p.m.

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