East Penn Press

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSome late-season adversity derailed what could have been a championship boys volleyball season for Emmaus in 2019. The 2020 Hornet sqaud looked forward to a successful season but never had the chance to compete. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSome late-season adversity derailed what could have been a championship boys volleyball season for Emmaus in 2019. The 2020 Hornet sqaud looked forward to a successful season but never had the chance to compete.

EHS volleyball had big goals for 2020

Thursday, May 7, 2020 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

The Emmaus High School boys volleyball team was on a successful run, winning two straight District 11 Class 4A championships in 2017 and 2018. But an injury and a midseason departure left the team short of two key players toward the end of the 2019 season, derailing the team’s plans of winning a third consecutive title.

The Hornets fell to Freedom in the district quarterfinal round in 2019 and finished the season with a 12-4 overall record.

The team played the last few games of the regular season and the entire postseason without Eastern Pennsylvania Conference First Teamer Stephen Reynolds, who suffered a late-season injury.

Emmaus would have entered the 2020 season as a contender for league and district titles.

With COVID-19 causing the cancellation of the spring sports season for high school athletics, four Emmaus High School senior boys volleyball players saw their careers come to an end before this year’s season started. Those players are Miguel Abadilla, Riley Bender, Nathan Eshleman, and Noah Szankovics.

“I look forward to every season and seeing what the boys are capable of,” said Hornet head coach Ken Dunkle. “I thought we had a strong squad this year that had the potential to win districts and go deep in states. My four seniors would have been a big part of that. We were working toward running a three-middle offense that would have featured Miguel and Noah playing the position of middle hitter, but being able to play any of the three front row positions depending on our match ups. I think their flexibility in their role was going to make them hard to stop.

“The biggest disappointment is not being able to watch these guys grow as leaders of the team and see how far we could have gone. They were having a lot of fun and working hard the first two weeks. If that was any indication of the season to come, I think we were in store for a great season. I’m also disappointed because I think at a minimum, Noah was in a good position to earn a spot on the District 11 All-Stars.”

The quartet may not have had the shiny numbers in stats coming into its final years, but Dunkle was confident the group would have produced team success as seniors.

“The team had a really great chemistry this year and these four were a big part of it,” Dunkle said. “I had them involved in helping during open gyms and the first two weeks of practice. My plan was to continue to increase their leadership roles during the season not only running drills, but also coming up with practice plans and even running practice.”