|Posted/Updated: 5/18/2023 9:19:25 AM|
EPC volleyball: Parkland shakes off first-set setback to Emmaus, rolls to championship
In the second game of the season, the Parkland Trojans boys' volleyball team lost the opening set of its game against Pennridge. Since then, the Trojans had won the first set in 14 straight games going into the EPC finals against Emmaus.
The Green Hornets (16-2) won the opener Wednesday night at Allen High School, 26-24. The question for Parkland coach Scott Trumbauer became … how will the team respond?
It turns out that the Trojans barely noticed that they had fallen behind and fired right back to win the next three sets 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 to take the EPC gold medals for the second straight season.
“They just didn’t give up, they kept pushing,” said Trumbauer of his team’s play. “The big one to me was at the end of the second set. We were up with a good lead and (Ahmad) Jaffer made a sprawling play toward the bench that he easily could have let go because we had an eight-point cushion to play with. I had the feeling that if he is thinking that way, the others are going to follow him.”
Parkland (17-0) broke serve to go up 16-12 and widened its lead from there, getting the next four points on serves from Kumayl Soonasra before the Hornets broke the string with a kill from Jametric Harris. But they were unable to close ground.
The third set was more competitive and both teams were able to take advantage of strong serving. It was in the third set that Chase Robbins began to become an issue for Emmaus as he recorded five kills.
“They took out one of their liberos, so we knew one of their middles was playing back, so we played it short, and it worked well,” said Robbins. “I enjoy getting the kills in games, especially big games like this, it feels nice.”
Robbins was again a presence in the fourth set, adding seven more kills. The Parkland defense went back to shutting down Emmaus’ serve opportunities. Parkland, with Luke Smith serving, ran the score to 22-19, causing Emmaus to take a timeout. The teams took turns breaking each other’s serves with the Trojans breaking serve at 24-22 to win the game.
“Keeping our serves strong will be important for us and if we do that and continue the hard work in practice, I don’t think there are a lot of teams that can stop us,” said Robbins of the team’s chances as they move into districts.
Emmaus has just two losses this season and both have been at the hands of the Trojans. Coach Jeff Elsea thought his team played hard but that there were some obvious deficiencies that hurt their chances.
“I’m not going to lie, there was a lot that I disliked,” said Elsea. “We played better than the first time we met them, but we still made some fundamental mistakes. We have to work on blocking and work on some digging. We’ll get there, it just was not where I expected it to be. My back row must improve and if they don’t, districts is not going to be a fight that we will be able to handle and if we do get it together, we will be fun to watch.”
Districts begin next Thursday with the 3A quarterfinals and Emmaus will be hosting Dieruff (12-7), while Parkland, the top seed, will have a bye through the quarterfinals. The downside to that is that the Trojans will be off until the semifinal round begins on May 30.
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, the EPC All-Star team was saluted with Emmaus’ Cooper Henseler being named the league MVP.
Cooper Henseler (Emmaus), Jametric Harris (Emmaus), Logan Dougherty (Emmaus), Nilansh Gupta (Freedom), Adam Mittl (Liberty), Luke Madson (Nazareth), Chase Robbins (Parkland)
Noah Ozorio (Dieruff), Christopher Mellor (Easton), Matthew Gonzalez (Liberty), Owen Hasker (Nazareth), Luke Smith (Parkland), Jack Kocher (Whitehall), Ethan Ringenberger (Whitehall)
Krish Patel (Freedom), Dillon Fleckenstein (Freedom), Cristian Matos (Liberty), Landon Nickischer (Northampton), Josh Nation (Parkland), Will Stiles (Parkland), Ahmad Jaffer (Parkland)