Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Eagles get by Mounts

Will there be a changing of the guard in Lancaster- Lebanon League Section Two boys volleyball this spring?

It’s the last week of March, and there’s a long, long way to go. But it’s certainly a distinct possibility, especially with stateranked Manheim Central lurking.

Ephrata steamrolled to the Section Two title last season, but the Mountaineers didn’t quite get off to the start they were hoping for on Tuesday night when they opened defense of their championship.

Cocalico spotted the host Mountaineers the first game, and then rattled off three games in a row for a 3-1 win over the defending section champs in the section opener for both squads. Game scores were 24-26, 25-17, 2513 and 25-18.

Cocalico’s trio of hitters all came up big for the Eagles: Isaac Carpenter, a 6-foot outside hitter, had 12 kills and he showed off a powerful swing. Caleb Horning, a 5-10 outside hitter, came up with seven kills, and kept the Mounts’ defense guessing at the net. And Avery Stark, a 6-2 outside hitter, had six big blocks.

Mounts strike first: Trey Farlow, Ephrata’s athletic, ambidextrous outside hitter, had six first-game kills, including the set-clincher, as the Mounts took a 1-0 lead with a 26-24 win. Cocalico helped Ephrata’s cause with eight missed serves. But the Eagles quickly turned things around.

Cocalico comeback: The Eagles warmed to the task in the second game behind Carpenter, who had a trio of kills, and Adin Frey, a 5-1 outside hitter, who had a key block and a service ace in Cocalico’s 25-17 second-game win. The Eagles bolted to a 16-5 lead and led 24-11 before Ephrata made a spirited run.

“We missed eight serves in the first game,” Cocalico coach Steve Strunk said. “But after that I thought we really picked up our play all around. We started serving better. We started picking balls up. They were playing a short game, and we were able to figure that out and really pick it up.”

Grabbing the lead: Cocalico never trailed in the third game, bolting to a 25-13 win for a 2-1 lead behind Carpenter, who opened the game with a kill and he never slowed down, with five more spikes in the game. Horning also had a pair of kills late in the game to help the Eagles clinch it and seize control for good.

Slamming the door: Carpenter keyed Cocalico’s 25-18 fourth-game win. He had back-toback kills, giving the Eagles a 14-10 cushion, and his spike gave Cocalico a commanding 20-14 cushion. Frey had a laser-beam winner and an ace down the stretch and the Eagles won it.

“This is kind of a microcosm of what I think we’re going to see a lot of this year,” Ephrata coach Bob Witwer said. “We played well. We hit well. We blocked well. We served OK. But I thought we made too many mistakes, and you just can’t let that happen. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times, and those were things that we can control. We have to clean up the unforced errors.”

Stat sheet: Farlow had a match-high 13 kills, Jose Laguer Seda and Matt Ueberroth had 18 digs apiece, and Connor Komancheck had 23 assists and a pair of aces for Ephrata, which fell to Penn Manor in the L-L semifinals and then again to the Comets in the District Three Class 3A semifinals last spring.