Volleyball team must replace two players
It has been a tough last week or two for Emmaus volleyball head coach Ken Dunkle and his team. The two-time defending District 11 Class 3A champs have lost two players recently because of different reasons. One-time starter Ethan Parvel left the program and regular starter Stephen Reynolds has been injured.
After nearly a week off since their last match, the Green Hornets got off on the right foot Monday evening. They won the first set, but then dropped the final three sets in falling to Liberty 3-1 by scores of 25-11, 17-25, 23-25 and 18-25 at Emmaus High School.
“Losing our two outside hitters (Stephen and Ethan) was definitely a big hit,” said Dunkle. “We basically had to do a mini tryout for the position and see what our best options were. We slid Owen Kennedy from middle hitter to outside hitter and moved sophomore Nick Blose up to a primary outside hitter. Thankfully, we have a couple matches and practices to try to work out the kinks. I think set one showed our potential.”
Even with a new lineup and down two key pieces that it has been used to playing with the majority of the season, Emmaus (10-3) came out firing on all cylinders in the opening set, and showed that it can still be the team that has won 10 of 13 matches and sits in third place in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference standings with a playoff spot in reach.
Emmaus led by as many as 15 points during set one on its way to a dominant 25-11 win.
But Liberty (9-3) quickly answered after it took a somewhat uncharacteristic loss and won the next three games. In games two and four the Hurricanes went in front early and stayed in a comfortable lead throughout. In set three the teams battled until the end, and Liberty was fortunate to hold on and record the final point.
“Liberty did a good job of not getting rattled and battled back,” Dunkle said. “I think with the newness of our lineup, we struggled at times to respond. In all honesty, it was just the kind of match we needed. It showed what the team is capable of, but also showed areas where we need to work a bit more.”
Emmaus has two games in as many days to wrap up the week. The Hornets will host Nazareth Wednesday and then take on Pocono Mountain West on the road Thursday. Emmaus finishes its regular season at home against Parkland next Monday.