Trojan boys volleyball wins state title
For the second time in Parkland's boys volleyball state playoff run, the Trojans faced a one-game deficit in a must-win match.
And for the second time in just two weeks, they didn't flinch.
Parkland bounced back from a loss in game one to beat Fox Chapel 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 Saturday at Penn State University to earn the school's first state title in boys volleyball.
"It's an incredible feeling," said senior co-captain Sean Lewis. "We've been working toward this all season. Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now. I'm glad we won with this team. I'm proud of everyone on this team.
"We played amazing today. Fox Chapel came out very aggressive in the first set. We started off kind of slow and you saw the nerves showing. But we battled back and won the next three."
The Trojans went undefeated throughout the regular season and didn't surrender a single set until the first round of states. That small bit of adversity was enough to help this team learn it could play with its back to the wall.
"It made us realize that you can lose sets but as long as you come out with the win that's the most important part," said junior co-captain Andrew Hillman.
Parkland was in a close first set Saturday until the Foxes turned their 20-19 lead into a 25-21 win.
The Trojans fell behind 13-9 in the second game before head coach Scott Trumbauer called time out. Momentum swung after that and Parkland outscored Fox Chapel 16-9 the rest of the way to take game two. Seven different players recorded kills in the game, including one from libero Jared Silverstein that should have been a free ball for the Foxes. That point gave Parkland it's first lead of the second game, 18-17.
Silverstein played a key role in the title match, digging up Fox Chapel hits one after another.
"To go against a team with that kind of offense and for us to come out on top, we clearly had to have good defense," said Trumbauer. "Our blocks were getting established and they were funneling the ball to where Jared and everybody else in the back row needed to be. Jake Heyer got a couple digs in certain situations that were huge. At any given moment the guys in the back row had a lot of pressure on them to make a dig."
After the first game, Parkland made some defensive adjustments and Fox Chapel was unable to answer.
"Our passing was better," said Lewis. "Our defense was better. Our blocking was better, especially our blocking. We got a lot of touches and anything we didn't touch our defense was there to pick it up. That really frustrated them and helped us keep up our energy and intensity."
Silverstein got to almost everything that the blockers didn't send back across the net. He even chased down a few balls far outside lines and got them back into play.
"We had to stay behind the block," Silverstein said. "Our blockers were blocking well. They're big. [Fox Chapel] just kept hitting hard cross and we just had to sit on the line and pick up balls the best we could."
"I thought our serve receive was a huge part of our ability to win," said junior setter Andrew Micheletti. "I thought our passing did a great job. It really helped us run a good, clean offense and it really helped us win the game."
Parkland went on to win the second game 25-22 as the Foxes, clearly out of sync, served the ball into the net for the Trojans' game-winning point.
Game three saw the Trojans start to dominate. They got out to a 17-10 lead on a Kyle Stout kill and never let their lead get below six points before a Heyer kill finished off the set and put Parkland ahead 2-1 in the match.
The Trojans depth and overall talent started to show as the match wore on.
"We're very fortunate because we have practices every day and there's a high level of competition across the board," said Trumbauer. "That pushes them. At any given position we're one, two or three people deep. It's what a true team has."
Playing to keep its season alive, Fox Chapel battled back from a 9-3 deficit in game four and even had a 19-17 lead at one point. The Trojans called time out and ran off three straight points, including an ace from Silverstein gave his team a 20-19 lead.
A few minutes later, Jack Dreisbach hammered down the final kill of the game for a 25-23 win, giving Parkland its first state title in boys volleyball.
The school is now the home of two state champion volleyball teams. The Trojan girls team won their second state title in four years just over six months ago.
For Trumbauer, who played for the Trojans in high school and was on two teams that lost in state semifinal matches, the win was extra special. It was a landmark win for a program that has been a part of his life for a long time.
"Seeing this team get over that hump," he said. "That was big for the program in general to kind of be able to add our name to the list of Hempfields and Central Yorks and North Alleghenies. It's nice to see us add ourselves to that list."
And the players were happy to deliver one for their coach as well as a senior class that includes one key player in Lewis a several others that contribute mostly in practice, but are still a huge part of the success.
"That's what we wanted to do all season," said Hillman. "We wanted to let these seniors go with a state championship and we achieved our goal so that feels amazing."