Volleyball loses to Knights
They knew they were bound to meet each other again. The Parkland and Hempfield boys volleyball teams played in a tightly contested four-match set a year ago in the PIAA state semifinals. They met in the same gym this year in the quarterfinal round. But this time, there was a different result.
The Trojans (20-2 overall) could not get out of an early hole in the fifth game, losing to the Black Knights 18-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19 and 15-5 last Saturday afternoon at Exeter High School, ending their quest at a second straight state championship.
“When you play Hempfield, especially in the state tournament, they have been so well prepared for whatever they are faced with,” said Parkland head coach Scott Trumbauer. “Last year we got a few bounces that went our way. This year, they got more, especially in the fifth set, and they capitalized on them. They deserve a lot of credit for bouncing back from their district final defeat and taking care of business.”
Hempfield, which was the second place team out of District 3, lost two of three games to Parkland in the Koller Classic Tournament back on April 16. The Knights wanted revenge and they got it right away, taking the first game by seven points.
“Parkland is a phenomenal team, but we felt with last year’s loss, we let one get away,” said Hempfield head coach Mike Vogel. “They were the best team in the state and we knew that we would run into them again.”
The defending state champs did not back down, however, answering in the next game.
The third game was back-and-forth with score tied at 18. But the Black Knights scored seven of the next eleven points to put the Trojans in a 2-1 hole.
But Parkland once again battled back and won the fourth game to take the match to a deciding fifth.
A 6-1 hole to start was just too much to overcome, and Hempfield finished it off 15-5.
“We seemed prepared for the fifth set, but got stuck in the first rotation mainly because of their aggressive and well-placed serving,” said Trumbauer. “It’s really tough to climb out of an early deficit like that in a shortened fifth set. We got it back to 8-5 but once again got stuck in a rotation against a great serve and couldn’t overcome it. They played defense against us like we’ve never seen before. They just know what it takes to win.”
Parkland will graduate 12 seniors that put a winning mark on the program.
“The seniors were a part of the program for four straight league titles, three straight District 11 titles and a PIAA Class AAA title,” Trumbauer said. “To say those are big shoes to fill would be a major understatement. They have accomplished more in four years than almost the entire program had accomplished prior to that.
“The thing that stands out to me the most is that they always did it with class, which makes me very proud to say I was their coach.
“Despite being teenagers, they were very respectable, on and off the court, and simply enjoyed playing volleyball with each other.”
Senior Andrew Hillman led the team with 17 kills and had 19 assists. Senior Andrew Micheletti contributed 22 assists and six digs. And fellow senior Jared Silverstein tallied 18 digs.