Penn Manor sends Mounts to Seeding Match

DALLASTOWN -- Penn Manor's boys' volleyball team is headed back to the District Three Class AAA championship match, thanks to its serve and ability to play consistently enough that its semifinal opponent, Ephrata, could not make a run Wednesday night.

The Comets, the No. 2 seed, recorded a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-16) sweep of the Mounts and will play Lancaster-Lebanon League and Section One foe Hempfield, the No. 1 seed, for the district title at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dallastown High School.

Hempfield advanced with a 3-0 win over Red Lion. Friday's match will mark the fifth meeting of the season for the Comets and Black Knights with Hempfield having won the previous four.

In a Class AA semifinal also at Dallastown Wednesday night, Northeastern showed why they are one of the best teams in the state, if not the best team, with a 3-0 victory over Lancaster Mennonite. The win sends the Bobcats to the AA final where they will meet York Suburban and try for a fourth straight district title.

Penn Manor was seeing Ephrata for the second time Wednesday, having defeated the Mounts 3-0 in the L-L League semifinals last week. The Comets (17-3) got typically strong hitting games from Sam Greenslade (14 kills), and Dan Fry (10). But it was their serving that kept the Mounts (18-2) out of system on many points.

"Serving tough was at the top of our game plan list," said Penn Manor coach Chris Telesco. "We tried to work our lines and corners and stay away from their best passer. We're getting more and more confident with our serves. I hope it translates to the next round.

The Comets, the No. 8 team in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association statewide AAA poll, had five of their eight aces for the match in the first set, setting a tone for their serving. Ephrata stayed close in the second set but was its own worst enemy, committing errors that gave Penn Manor points.

"You can't do the things you want to do if you don't pass well," said Ephrata coach Bob Witwer. "At this level, you have to be able to pass a jump serve. You can't just hope they miss."

A kill by Ephrata's Spencer Linton cut Penn Manor's lead to 13-12 in the third set. But a 7-2 run, which included an ace by Reuben Kemrer, sent the Comets to the third-set win.

"Ephrata has a very good team with some good swings," said Kemrer, who had 26 assists. "But we just have to pass the ball and I have to set it well then put it away. That's our game plan every match."

Ephrata will play Red Lion in a state tournament seeding match at 6 p.m. Friday at Penn Manor.