Late during the second game of the Elizabethtown Area High School boys volleyball team’s recent slate, it appeared that the Bears were going to come away with a pair of solid victories. However, things did not end up working out as planned.
The team had a road game at Lebanon on Thursday, May 2. Elizabethtown dominated the Cedars in the initial two sets, winning 25-13 and 25-14. Lebanon gamely kept things alive, going on a late run to steal a 25-23 victory in the third and force a fourth game. However, the Bears put their foot on the gas pedal from there, cruising to a 25-16 win to end the game.
Sophomore Rudy Woitas had a game-high 12 kills for Elizabethtown in addition to 3 service aces. Junior Nate Seeger turned in a balanced stat line of 9 kills, 34 assists and 17 digs. Juniors Gavin Gilhool, Casey Lyons and Jacques Mortha each had 8 kills, while junior Jake Sevcik led all players with 19 digs. Sophomore Abdiel Vega-Rivera carried Lebanon with 5 kills, 18 digs and 4 service aces.
Elizabethtown stayed away from home on Monday, May 6, for a rematch from earlier in the season at Cocalico. The Bears outlasted the Eagles 3-2 the first time around at home, and this game turned out to be just as crazy.
After some back and forth action in the first set, Elizabethtown went on a 4-0 run to take a 17-11 lead. Cocalico fought back, eventually tying the score at 20-20. The Bears stepped up, however, scoring five of the last six points to win 25-21 in the first. A 5-0 run early in the second helped them coast to a 25-15 win there as well.
Needing to win the next three sets to get the victory, the Eagles overcame early runs from Elizabethtown in the third to take a 23-18 lead late. The Bears responded by scoring six straight to go to game point with a 24-23 advantage. Cocalico turned the tables, scoring two points to go to set point. Elizabethtown proceeded to stave off defeat nine times before finally falling 33-31.
A 5-0 run in the fourth gave the Bears a 10-6 lead before the Eagles chipped away to go up 20-18. Six straight points put Elizabethtown up 24-20, with game point in sight. Cocalico answered with five straight of its own, eventually winning 29-27 to force a deciding fifth set. With momentum on their side, the Eagles opened the final with a 9-1 ride, giving them a big enough cushion to win 15-8 and steal a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
Senior Peyton Stetter led Cocalico with 14 kills, while fellow senior Patrick Koller had 37 assists. Senior Nick Chapman finished with a game-high 18 kills for the Bears, with Mortha (12 kills, 14 digs), Woitas (9 kills) and junior Casey Lyons (7 kills, 20 digs) contributing as well. Seeger led all players with 42 assists, as did Sevcik with 31 digs. The former had 21 digs as well. As a team, Elizabethtown had an insane 101 digs.
With Ephrata’s loss to Lancaster Mennonite on Monday, Elizabethtown (8-7) has clinched a spot in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs. Still, the Bears are two spots out of the Class 3A playoffs for District 3, and a win at home on Senior Night in their regular season finale against Lancaster Mennonite on Wednesday, May 8, should at least keep them in contention.