Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Mounts stop Lancaster Mennonite

Midway through the fourth set Tuesday night, the match was at a bit of a crossroads.

Ephrata had taken the first two sets from host Lancaster Mennonite but the Blazers rebounded to win the third.

The Mounts led 16-14 in the fourth but as most of the match proved, a two-point lead didn't add up to much.

This time, though, the Mounts took the two-point lead and built on it, first, with two of Nick Farlow's match-high 29 kills.

Soon, the lead was 21-14 and that was enough of a surge to send Ephrata to the 25-18 fourth-set win and a 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 25-18) victory in the match, the first Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two match for both schools.

Farlow, who also had five blocks and 18 digs, was a force but so was teammate Hunter Lehman, who finished with 26 kills and four blocks. While the Blazers got hands on some of his swings, Farlow was able to tip successfully to add to his kill total.

Ephrata was without injured opposite RJ Crossgrove and Lancaster Mennonite played without middle Stephen Baak, who suffered an ankle injury at the Hempfield Tournament on Saturday.

But Ephrata coach Bob Witwer said not having Crossgrove put the Mounts a bit off-kilter

"We were a little out of rhythm at the start," said Ephrata coach Bob Witwer. "We play a quality team like Lancaster Mennonite and we end up playing scared. Sometimes that can be the worst thing."

Ephrata took a 21-10 lead in the first set and while the Blazers went on an 8-3 run, the Mounts took the set on a kill by Lehman.

The Blazers cleaned up some errors as the match played out and got some strong serving from Andrew Baak (10 kills, three blocks, three aces), a lefthander. But Farlow took over late in the second set with three kills and a block, which led to a 25-23 Mounts win.

"Nick is a great player and he's going to get his kills, so we wanted to limit him as much as possible," said Lancaster Mennonite coach Gary Martin.

The Blazers overcame an 11-8 deficit in the third on the strength of a 13-3 run. The spurt was aided by Brock Rohrer's serving and enabled Mennonite to wrest a little of the momentum from the Mounts.

"We thrive on good serving and we want to keep it that way," Martin said. "We wanted to make them pass the ball far to get their setter out of rhythm a little bit."

Ephrata setter Alex Modrzecki had to do a lot of moving around but he's experienced enough to get his sets to the right spots even when he's on the run. He finished with 43 assists.

"Serving and serve-receive were a big deal in this match," Witwer said.

Ephrata entered the match with the edge in returning experience but Lancaster Mennonite showed that its newcomers may be farther along than thought to be.

"We're encouraged," Martin said. "Ephrata isn't necessarily the team you want to be facing at the start of the season but hopefully it will help in the long run."