PHS takes EHS to limit
Parkland head coach Scott Trumbauer couldn’t have asked for a better start. But he could have probably asked for a different ending.
In Monday’s EPC volleyball semifinals, Parkland did something against Emmaus that no other conference foe could this season—take a set against the unbeaten Hornets. The Trojans won the first set in thrilling fashion.
However, there would be too much firepower from top-seeded Emmaus. The Hornets rallied to win the next two sets and then closed out the match with a 15-2 victory in the fifth set. The 3-2 win (27-29, 25-18, 25-21, 26-28, 13-2) pits the Hornets up against Whitehall in the championship game.
“Knowing how we played the first time we played them, and how they’ve been playing the whole year,” said Trumbauer. “It was good to see our guys get out there. That first set was gigantic for us for motivation and a positive feel on the bench. And I begged the guys at the beginning to play calm and play relaxed. When you play relaxed, you play your best volleyball.”
The first meeting of the two teams handed Parkland its first conference loss of the season, and it kept Emmaus unbeaten and rolling. The result was a 3-0 uncompetitive sweep for the Hornets.
However, with the stakes higher, Parkland seemed to play more loose. And it showed from the jump.
No team led by more than two points in that opening set, but it was Parkland who came through in the final moments. After a kill from Ian Dashukewich put Parkland in front 26-25, the Trojans regained the lead at 27-26 when Nick Mohr set up Ryan Nemesh. A kill from Nemesh and a Hornet error shortly later ended it.
Emmaus found its groove in the second and third sets, and showed glimpses of the team it was for much of the regular season. Setter Cam Parsons controlled the action while hitters James Haag and Matt Swanson dominated at the net.
“I really think it was just playing loose,” Trumbauer said. “I think that first time, both teams are undefeated and it’s the matchup of the last two unbeaten teams and there’s a lot of hype to it. It’s just one of the things where we came with a different mindset and a different mentality that is very beneficial.”
The Hornets seemed to take that momentum of the second and third sets and transition it into the fourth with a quick 4-0 lead. The Hornets even led 14-10 minutes later.
But Parkland would have an answer. The Trojans rallied for an 8-3 run, capped by Dashukewich’s kill, to take an 18-17 lead. Mohr and Dashukewich would also provide key points late in helping tie the game at 2-2.
“The other night we were playing Whitehall and we were down 24-19 in the third set, and we tied it at 24,” Trumbauer said. “As a coach I’m proud to see that in this late in the season when we start getting in clutch matches, they don’t stop playing. They never want the game to end.”
Emmaus then opened the fifth set on a 6-0 sprint before cementing its spot in the EPC championship game. Results from that game on Wednesday night were not available at time of press.
Parkland will get back on the court for district tournament when it travels to Delaware Valley on Thursday. Trumbauer is hoping his young squad can build on their performance against Emmaus far into the district playoffs.
“I can rely on this to hopefully remind the guys of how well they played today and the things they did well, because the teams we are going to see up there are not Emmaus,” Trumbauer said. “If we can take even a fraction of our stuff from tonight up there, we’ll come back from there and be ready to play on Tuesday.”
Parkland faces No. 11 Wyoming Valley West at 5 p.m. The winner will face No. 3 Delaware Valley immediately after that match concludes.