|Posted/Updated: 5/27/2022 12:09:21 PM|
Northampton boys volleyball avenges defeats to Parkland, captures first District 11 title
The Northampton boys volleyball team lost just twice in 2022, both times to Parkland.
The Konkrete Kids earned one last chance to defeat the Trojans by reaching the District 11 Class 3A championship and took full advantage.
Second-seeded Northampton defeated top-seeded Parkland 25-23, 15-25, 25-21, 28-26 at Catasauqua High School Thursday night.
The win gives the Konkrete Kids (21-2) their first championship in program history.
“We had to get it. This was our last chance to get a championship,” Northampton senior Jackson Fehnel said. “We weren’t going home with a loss. We got the win. This was our last chance to get a championship, we got it.”
Two weeks after the Trojans (18-5) used short serves and an aggressive block to beat Northampton in four sets in the EPC final, the Konkrete Kids adjusted and consistently got the ball to their outside hitters.
“We knew we had to pass higher. When they served short, we knew that we had to pass higher. We also knew we needed to drive middle and get the ball to the pins, to create the one-on-ones, and we were able to do that,” Northampton coach Sue Ardnt said. “Blocking was much better tonight.”
Senior setter Keller Repasch provided 45 assists. Fehnel and fellow seniors Johnny Martinez and Alex Schoenen all recorded double-digit kills.
“(Parkland) have great blockers. They got a lot of blocks, but we just have guys that can put the ball away and I gave it to them and I trusted them,” Repasch said.
“We believed in everyone. They have a great block out there, but it was all about tipping it to the right spots. Everyone on our team can hit, we know that,” Fehnel said.
Tribute to Finlayson
“They did it for Jess Finlayson, their former coach, they did it for her tonight,” Ardnt said. “It’s history. We get to hang a banner.
Finlayson, the former Northampton girls volleyball coach and boys middle school volleyball coach, passed away in January of 2021 at the age of 28 after a two-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer.
“It feels like six years of hard work. It all started back in middle school with our coach Jess Finlayson, she inspired us all. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. She’s up in heaven smiling down on us right now. It’s a blessing really,” Repasch said.
“We’ve been down before, we were down in the semis just like this. We know if we stick together, work as brothers, it’ll all work out and that’s what happened,” Repasch said.
Schoenen cut the deficit to 23-20 before Parkland had two hits go out of bounds. Martinez tied the set at 23-23 off an assist from Repasch
Sophomore Luke Smith’s block put the Trojans on top 24-23 but they were called for a carry on the next rally. Repasch fed Schoenen again to give the Konkrete Kids the first of three match-point opportunities.
Schoenen delivered another kill to give Northampton a 27-26 lead. Parkland junior Chase Robbins then put an attempted spike wide to deliver the Konkrete Kids their first title.
“It feels great. I’ll remember the moment for the rest of my life. We’ve all worked so hard for this, it just feels great to have this,” Martinez said. “We just made history. Northampton volleyball hasn’t won anything, it just feels great to be holding this (trophy) right now.”
Northampton also rallied to win the first set after Parkland built a 22-17 lead. Late in the opening set, Martinez made three blocks and one kill to help the Kids win 25-23.
“We were down by a lot, we knew it wasn’t over yet. We put the pressure back on them. We just came together and got it done,” Martinez said. “Even if we’re down by 10, we know it’s not over yet. Anything can happen. As long as we stay as a team, stay positive, we can win anything.”
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Northampton will face District 3 third-placed Warwick in the first round of the PIAA 3A tournament Thursday at a site and time to be determined.
The Trojans played their best in the second set. Robbins gave Parkland a 10-9 lead off an assist from sophomore Will Stiles and the Trojans wouldn’t trail from there.
“(Northampton) were a little bit more aggressive... What it comes down to was the execution wasn’t there. Whether it was nerves or not trusting ourselves or whatever it was; that’s not the time you want it to happen but it does sometimes,” Parkland coach Scott Trumbauer said. “Credit to them. They stayed aggressive and kept going at it and didn’t stop. They earned it. We didn’t lose it, they earned it.”
Parkland, which won the D-11 3A crown last year, will face District 2 champion Abington Heights in the first round of states Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Questions/Comments? Contact Scott Trumbauer