By KYLE MORGAN
The Elizabethtown Advocate
The Elizabethtown Area High School boys volleyball team has a whirlwind stretch to start 2019: three regular-season games and two tournaments in a span of eight days. In spite of the difficulty, the Bears answered the call by getting a win in their first game and finishing high in one of the tournaments.
The team opened its season by competing in the Buckskins Classic at Conestoga Valley on Saturday, March 23. Elizabethtown didn’t get off to a stellar start, falling to the host team 25-21 and 25-17 in the first two games of pool play. However, the Bears were able to turn it around.
They began by coasting to a 25-11 win in their first game against Fleetwood off the back of 7 service aces (3 coming from senior Nick Chapman). Fleetwood did mount a comeback in the second game, going up 16-15 at one point, but Elizabethtown then scored 9 of the last 10 points for the 25-19 victory.
The Bears next faced Avon Grove; the first game was largely back and forth, with the teams entering the final stretch tied at 19-19. Again, Elizabethtown came up big late, scoring 6 of the last 7 points to win 25-20. The second game was much of the same; Avon Grove led 12-11 early, but the Bears scored five straight to go up 16-12. The Red Devils did manage to make things interesting late, cutting the score to 24-22 before sophomore Rudy Woitas finished things off with a kill for a 25-22 Elizabethtown win.
The last pool game for the Bears was against Mechanicsburg. They coasted to a 25-18 win in game one after a 5-0 run game them the lead early on. The Wildcats kept things close in the second game, never trailing by more than five, but Elizabethtown held them at bay and eventually won 2520, finishing 6-2 in pool play and second in its group behind Conestoga Valley at 8-0.
In the playoffs, the Bears had a quarterfinal matchup against Daniel Boone. They dominated, for the most part, opening with a 6-2 run and later scoring seven straight to go up 15-5. The Blazers tried chipping away at that lead, but Elizabethtown was able to close things out for a 25-18 win to get to the semifinals.
There, the Bears faced Brandywine Heights, who went 7-1 to get the top seed in the other pool. Elizabethtown answered the call, taking a 10-5 lead early and staving off multiple runs from the Bullets. The Bears then scored 6 of the last 7 to win 25-17.
In the finals, they once again faced Conestoga Valley, who had beaten Ephrata in the semifinals. Unshaken, Elizabethtown was able to go up 11-7 early, later losing the lead after a Buckskins run and regaining it at 17-16 following a service ace from junior Casey Lyons. However, Conestoga Valley answered with another push, holding the Bears off down the stretch to win 25-23 in game one.
It was much of the same in the second game. Back to back kills from Chapman and junior Jacques Mortha briefly put Elizabethtown up 16-13. The Buckskins scored four straight to tie it at 17-17, with the Bears later going up 23-22 late. Conestoga Valley stepped up though, scoring the final three points to get another 25-23 victory and win the tournament,putting Elizabethtown in second place. The Bears went 8-4 on the day, with all four losses coming to the Buckskins.
The Bears had their first regular season outing of the year at Ephrata on Tuesday, March 26. The first set went back and forth between the two teams, with multiple lead changes at different points. Elizabethtown took the lead for good after a Seeger kill and a Lyons ace put the score at 19-17. A clutch kill from Chapman stopped a Mounts push, and the Bears escaped with a 25-22 win after he converted a game-winning ace.
The lead changes increased in the second game; after being down early, Elizabethtown scored four straight to tie it at 9-9, and both teams one-upped each other the rest of the way. The Bears had a 3-0 run to take a 22-19 lead, but Ephrata answered with one of its own to tie it at 23-23. However, Seeger scored with a kill, and the Mounts’ return on the following serve went out of bounds to give Elizabethtown a slim 25-23 victory.
Early in the third, the Bears scored four straight to take a 9-6 lead, one that they would not relinquish. They had the largest leads of the night for either side late in the game. A service ace from senior Gavin Orth was the final nail in the coffin, and Elizabethtown won 25-16 for a 3-0 sweep.
Seeger was a stat-stuffer for the Bears, leading all players with 24 assists and also finishing with a team-high 3 blocks. Chapman, Mortha and Woitas each had 7 kills to lead Elizabethtown, while junior libero Jake Sevcik had 12 digs. Sophomore Devon Eshleman led Ephrata with 7 kills, while senior Jose Laguer Seda had a game-high 16 digs.
Elizabethtown was scheduled to have its first home game on Wednesday, March 27, against Warwick. The Bears will then go on the road to Exeter on Friday, March 29, and take part in the Eagle Challenge Tournament at Cocalico on Saturday, March 30, followed by another road game at Garden Spot on Tuesday, April 2.