It was a busy stretch for the Elizabethtown Area High School boys volleyball team as they played four games in six days. The results were mixed, as they won two and lost two, with the second win coming on the team’s Senior Night.
Alas, it will be the last with head coach Bryan Buckius. He and the team announced in the program for the evening that he’ll be leaving his position at the end of the season to join the coaching staffs of the men’s and women’s volleyball teams at Elizabethtown College as an assistant. Buckius, who’s been the head coach for the past four seasons, hopes to stay involved with the team in some capacity and expects to assist in the process of finding his replacement.
“It’s one of those things where I just want to continue to progress forward,” Buckius said. “Even though it’s a volunteer position, I want to be able to coach at the collegiate level at some point. If I have the opportunity to do it, it’s a change of pace and it’s a direction where I’d like to go. I definitely have a strong connection with the guys here, so I’m gonna have to take a step back. It’s gonna be a bit different with me not being the head coach, but I’m still gonna be involved with this as best I can.”
In actual game action, the Bears went on the road to face Manheim Central on Thursday, April 19, in a rematch from earlier in the season. The results were much of the same as the first meeting, as the Barons swept Elizabethtown 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-19).
More often than not, Elizabethtown controlled the pace early on in the sets. They were undone by mental mistakes, however, missing 9 serves and 11 hits as a team.
Seniors Austin Kreiser and Brice Reiman shared the lead in kills for the Bears with 6. Sophomore Jacques Mortha wasn’t far behind with 5. Senior Narvin Chhay’s streak of 20-plus assists came to an end, as he put up just 18.
Junior Mason Nissley had a game-high 12 kills for Manheim Central. Fellow junior Brandyn Musser had 8 digs, while senior Ben Burkhart led all players with 30 assists.
Elizabethtown returned to Daubert Gym on Friday, April 20, to host Manheim Township, whom they had previously faced in the Comet Clash Tournament at Penn Manor on Saturday, April 7. They lost two games to the Blue Streaks then, and that trend continued, as Manheim Township won 3-0 (25-20, 2517, 25-14).
The first set was tightly contested, with Manheim Township pulling away toward the end. Elizabethtown faded as the games went on, as the Blue Streaks seized firm control.
Kreiser had the team lead again for Elizabethtown with 10 kills. Chhay had 20 assists, while junior Nicholas Chapman had 5 service aces.
Senior Chris Paladino was a monster for Manheim Township, getting 20 kills, 8 digs and 4 service aces. Senior Zach Johnson also had 4 aces while putting up 30 assists.
After a weekend off, the Bears got back to it on Monday, April 23, at home against West York. They came away with a 3-1 win (25-23, 25-15, 23-25, 25-17). It was back-andforth in the first set, with Elizabethtown pulling it out late. They dominated in the second set as well. The Bulldogs hung around long enough in the third set to steal it toward the end, but the Bears ultimately coasted to an easy win in the final set.
It was a kill party for Elizabethtown. Four players had at least 6, with Chapman leading the pack at 10. Kreiser and senior Spencer Roth had 9 each, while Reiman had 6. In addition, Chapman had 4 service aces, and Roth had 10 blocks. Chhay had his highest assist total of the year at 33.
Senior Ian Watson was the high man for West York with 12 kills and 25 digs. Junior Adam Hershey had 29 assists.
The good times at home kept rolling on Tuesday, April 24, against Lebanon. With the Bears holding Senior Night during the game, they went exclusively with lineups featuring the Class of 2018, giving bench players like Petr Hollan and Greg Bishop their first varsity reps of the year.
“I’ve had three of them who’ve been here all four years,” Buckius said. “Seeing the transformation from freshman to senior year has been cool. Seeing the transformation of the program from when I first started is definitely awesome. It’s a bit of an emotional night since it’s the last Senior Night before I move onto E-Town College, but it’s definitely been great.”
Elizabethtown celebrated by trouncing Lebanon 3-0. They dominated in the first set, winning 25-8. The Cedars were more competitive in the second, but they still lost 2518. The final was similar to the first, with the Bears winning 25-10.
Kreiser had the team lead in kills once again with 10. Reiman and Roth had 6 and 5, respectively. Chhay had 19 assists, while senior Nicholas Dobslaw had 7 service aces.
Sophomore Adan Sandoval led Lebanon in kills with 4. Senior Logan Boyer had a game-high 6 digs.
The team will have a few days off before hosting a 10team varsity tournament at Daubert Gym on Saturday, April 28. They’ll then head back on the road to face Lancaster Mennonite on Tuesday, May 1.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Buckius said. “We’ve been doing it the last couple of years. We haven’t had quite the turnout, but it’s a good chance for them to get touches on the ball as we go into the last two weeks of the season. It’s kind of crazy.”