|Posted/Updated: 5/26/2019 9:54:20 AM|
Whitehall answers every Parkland charge for first District 11 3A volleyball title since 2010
Seven times Parkland pulled to within a point or even with Whitehall in the third set of Thursday’s District 11 3A boys volleyball championship after the Trojans led 4-2.
Each time Whitehall countered Parkland’s uprising, pulling back ahead of the Trojans before a huge crowd at Catasauqua High School.
This was not the Zephyrs of the last two seasons — talented squads that didn’t have quite enough to outlast Emmaus for Whitehall’s first title since 2010. Emmaus swept Whitehall both years.
This was not the Zephyrs team that struggled to beat Parkland in the Trojans’ gym on senior night at the end of the regular season, a five-set war, one Whitehall needed a rally to escape in the fifth set, 15-11.
This was the dominant, 23-0 Zephyrs, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champions, the team that dispatched a young Parkland squad 3-0 on Thursday for the title by scores of 25-19, 25-13, 25-20.
This was the Zephyrs team that needed only 65 minutes to capture history and collect another trophy.
Senior Richard Melosky called it “the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
The hometown showed up, and Whitehall showed out.
“We give as much energy as our fans give us,” said outside hitter Dylan McGinley. “They gave us so much energy tonight.”
The collective “yeeeaaahhhhss” on a slam by EPC MVP Joe Herman, or a block by McGinley, or a series of service points by left-handed senior Richard Melosky resounded. Whitehall coach George Cowitch said he last saw crowds like the one Thursday night back in 2010, when he had a team “like this one.”
As Cowitch stood emotionless by Whitehall’s bench, arms crossed Doug Snyder style, his players answered every threat.
“I felt good about this game,” said Cowitch. “Holy cow, we played really well. These guys just don’t want to lose. We’re older, we’re smart volleyball players, and we managed the game clock. The community really loves these guys; a bunch of them play multiple sports.”
For Melosky, one of three brothers, he’s the only one to win a district and league title in the same season.
Of course, his dad won a state football title coaching at Parkland.
“With our continued toughness,” said the son and grandson of football coaches, “we’re pretty tough to beat.”
Parkland (16-5) countered with towering middle hitter Ian Dashukewich, one of three seniors, and Jordan Lewis, a leaping sophomore. They gave Parkland a tall blocking tandem. Whitehall responded by tapping over the Trojans’ front line, or sending their kills cross-court.
Parkland sophomore JT Siggins provided the best Trojan offense at the net, elevating and levitating for kills, but Whitehall never let Parkland establish a consistent rhythm.
Whitehall libero Aziz Atiyeh dug out kill attempts. Middle hitter Alex Khouri provided key slams or one-touch points. Whitehall’s five seniors — Atiyeh, Ian Frankenfield, Herman, Khouri and Melosky — proved their veteran mettle.
In the first set, tied at 3, Whitehall spurted on a 14-5 run. Nicholas Rex contributed five straight service points. McGinley, who injured his leg in the semifinal win, showed no lingering effects, slamming home a series of kills.
In the second set, Parkland trimmed a 7-2 deficit to 7-6 behind the serving of Siggins. Herman answered that with four straight service points. Melosky capped the set with five straight for a 25-13 bulge.
The third set revealed Whitehall’s growth, never giving in each time Parkland rallied.
“I told the guys that we have the ‘it’ factor,” said Cowitch.
And the “it” player in Herman, who set a school record with 31 kills in the semifinal win over Freedom.
Whitehall returns to Catty’s gym on Tuesday to face the District 12 runner-up in the first round of the state tournament. Parkland, which won three straight District 11 titles from 2014-16, also advanced against the District 3 champion.
The Zephyr seniors want to make more noise before starting their college careers. Herman plans to play football and volleyball at Kings College. Atiyeh will likely play two sports there as well, including volleyball with Herman.
Melosky prefers basketball when he arrives at Moravian College.
All that can wait. Their final high school chapters aren’t written.
Questions/Comments? Contact Scott Trumbauer