|Posted/Updated: 6/8/2022 7:42:22 AM|
Northampton boys volleyball sees season end in state semifinals
The Northampton boys volleyball team earned its first-ever trip to the state semis with a thrilling 3-2 win over Neshaminy on Saturday in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals.
In their semifinal match against undefeated Central Dauphin, the Konkrete Kids experienced what it's like to face one of the best teams in the state, if not country.
The District 3 champion Rams (21-0) defeated District 11 champion Northampton 25-12, 25-14, 25-17 at Exeter Township High School Tuesday night.
Central Dauphin, which has only dropped one set this season and is ranked fifth in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, will play District 7 champion North Allegheny in the state championship Saturday at Penn State in a rematch of last year's state final.
"My message right now is that they can't take away that we finished fourth in the state. That's something we accomplished with the senior leadership that we had," Northampton coach Sue Arndt said. "They tried. There wasn't one person out there that wasn't trying. We did the best we could against a big team like that. We've seen them in club, we knew what we were up against. I didn't want them to hang their heads."
The Konkrete Kids' best run came at the start of the start of the second set. Northampton jumped out to a 7-3 lead when senior Alex Schoenen delivered a kill on an assist from fellow senior Keller Repasch. The Rams then rattled off eight straight points and never trailed again in the second set or in the third.
Central Dauphin's height on the block and ability to generate kills from any spot on the floor kept Northampton off balance throughout the match. The Konkrete Kids were also without sophomore opposite hitter Landon Nickisher, who suffered an ankle injury during Monday's practice.
"They picked everything up well, they played great defense, they had great blocks, they swung hard," Schoenen said.
Repasch tallied 17 assists and six digs. Seniors Duane Milnes and Johnny Martinez both finished with five kills.
"I know we lost but it's an amazing feeling to see how far we got and win districts and make it to the final four of states. You just have to look at the positives right now, keep your head up," Martinez said.
Arndt reinforced that her team should remain positive about the season, during which Northampton captured its first championship in program history by beating Parkland 3-1 the D-11 final.
"They did the impossible," the fifth-year coach said. "We were discounted at the beginning of the season. We weren't supposed to win districts, in everybody's eyes, and we won districts. We weren't supposed to win against Warwick (in the first round of states), and we won against Warwick. We weren't supposed to win against Neshaminy, and we did it. We got to this point, where you get to play the best of the best. That's what you live for, to play the best of the best."
"Putting a banner up on the wall, first time for boys or girls (volleyball) in the history of the school, it's awesome. It's a great feeling. I'm just really happy that we went this far and be able to be a part of this," Schoenen added. "This was a far ride and it felt amazing. We've played together forever."
The Konkrete Kids (23-3) will lose six seniors to graduation, including Eastern Pennsylvania Conference all-star selections Schoenen, Repasch, Martinez and Jackson Fehnel.
"We're a family. We have the best chemistry," Martinez said. "We all rely on each other to get it done. We pat each other's back when we make a mistake and nothing beats that, having each other's back."
Arndt immediately pointed to one trait when asked what set this group apart from past Northampton teams.
"I don't think I've ever coached a team that has so much composure… They have so much composure, they have so much drive to play with each other," Arndt said. "In 31 years, I don't think ever coached a team like this. Not only the wins, but who they are."
Questions/Comments? Contact Scott Trumbauer