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PRESS PHOTO BY ROB MERCHANTAaron Kuhlman spikes a ball during a recent game against Freedom. Copyright - Digital Media Magic PRESS PHOTO BY ROB MERCHANTAaron Kuhlman spikes a ball during a recent game against Freedom. Copyright - Digital Media Magic

Trojan volleyball falls to EHS

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by TODD KRESS in Sports

For just about two-and-a-half seasons, the Parkland boys’ volleyball team had not lost an East Penn Conference match. The Trojans were seldom tested by league foes during that stretch.

The Trojans lost just one set—not match, but set—over the past two seasons combined to EPC opponents. The team was seemingly untouchable.

In a matchup of early season unbeaten teams on Tuesday night, Parkland found itself in an unfamiliar position. Emmaus, the last EPC team to defeat the Trojans (back in 2014), did it once again. The Hornets (8-0) stayed unbeaten in the EPC with a 3-2 victory over Parkland, 25-20, 17-25, 25-16, 14-25, 15-8.

“Emmaus serves really tough, and they put a lot of pressure on you,” Parkland head coach Scott Trumbauer said. “If you can’t stop that pressure early, it just snowballs. That’s how the first set started, and unfortunately that’s how the fifth set started. In a shortened game you can’t afford to do that.”

Much like that opening set when Emmaus jumped to an 11-3 lead and coasted to a victory, the fifth and deciding set played out similarly.

The Green Hornets scored five of the first six points, and a key block from outside hitter Noah Bacon put Emmaus in front 11-5. A couple of points later, setter Cameron Parsons set up Jacob Rumfield for a 13-7 advantage, and the Trojans hit a ball into the net to end the match.

“They didn’t gave up by any means,” Trumbauer said. “Having some of the young faces in there that probably weren’t expecting to be in this match and to perform the way they did, I couldn’t be happier.”

Parkland, despite retuning just one player that saw consistent varsity time last year in Garrett Weigel, did not quit after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1. In that second set, with Parkland clinging to a 15-14 lead, the Trojans (7-1) scored six of the next seven points to help secure a victory.

Senior middle hitter Aaron Huhlman came up with plenty of blocks in that set. Then, Weigel set the tone in the fourth set on a number of occasions. A kill at the net gave Parkland an 9-4 advantage in the early going, and then tallied back-to-back points shortly later that separated the Trojans even more at 13-4.

“Any time you drop a game it is how you respond,” Trumbauer said. “It’s the same thing I tell the kids. If you have any kind of error, it is how you respond to it, not what caused the error. In the second set I think we showed that didn’t really bother us.”

For Weigel, he is stepping into a new role in which he has become the unquestioned leader of this team, one that played two freshman and a sophomore setter against Emmaus.

“He knows all of the pressure is on him, and he just has to deal with it,” Trumbauer said. “He’s had some growing pains moving into that new role, but most kids do, especially with the situation where we were from last year to this year.”

Those ninth-graders, defensive stopper twins Logan Iacobelli and Ben Iacobelli, suited up on the varsity stage for the first time all season. Logan practiced with the varsity unit for just 10 minutes the day prior, and Ben had never stepped on the court with varsity until Tuesday.

So, despite losing its first EPC match in over two years, Trumbauer was pleased at number of facets that he saw against one of the league’s perennial teams. He knows this Trojan team won’t be the same one that suits up next week or next month.

“We didn’t play the full Emmaus team tonight; they were missing some kids for a number of reasons,” Trumbauer said. “It was good to see the way our younger kids reacted in an environment like this. Throwing two freshmen on the court, I can promise they haven’t been in a match like this with the intensity and the crowd.”