Volleyball reaches state quarterfinal
Against Council Rock North, the Emmaus boys volleyball team had a major test of character and responded accordingly.
The Hornets, who have breezed through opponents in three games for much of the season, battled through the final two games after a potentially momentum-changing swing and rallied for a 3-1 (25-17, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21) victory over the Indians in a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal match at Exeter High School.
Council Rock North (20-1), the District One champs who were in the midst of their best season in school history, made a surge in the second set and then captured the third one as well as an apparent emotional swing with some late rallies. But Emmaus went back to business in the fourth set and never relinquished the lead from the start.
The Hornets advanced to meet District 3 champ Hempfield in a semifinal at Exeter Wednesday.
“We prepared for Council Rock North and watched film on them and anticipated what they would bring,” said Emmaus head coach Ken Dunkle. “I think that helped us jump out to a quick win in set one. We knew they were going to push back though. They made some adjustments and were able to push us.
“It would have been nice to sweep in three, but it is good to get pushed and then push back and take the match. We knew the third set was done and we had to get back to set one when we were playing with all that energy.”
Emmaus had strong net play throughout the match and received a balanced effort. Cameron Parsons led the Green Hornets with 14 digs and had 44 assists. James Haag had 12 digs along with 16 kills and four service aces.
Mitchell Shoemaker chipped in with 12 digs, Harrison Dottery had 11, and Thomas Mazzella had 7.
Haag knew he and his teammates could withstand the Indians’ late surge and make a return trip to the state semifinals. Harry Wyatt was a force late in the match for the Indians as he finished with 22 kills.
“They are a really great team and had some really strong hitters,” said Haag. “We brought the momentum from the start and carried it through the set. We were fired up and ready.
“We’re very confident right now that we can win a state title. We stayed focused and didn’t let any points get to us. When we had some adversity, we came right back and kept playing well.”
“Everyone came up with big plays when we needed them,” said Dunkle. “I’m glad Council Rock North pushed us. I think that will be important for our next match against Hempfield.”