Shot after shot, Parkland fired away at Garnet Valley.
The Trojans’ big hitters landed countless body blows, but couldn’t deliver the knockout punch.
Garnet Valley withstood the attack and denied Parkland a third straight state title, prevailing 25-19, 27-29, 19-25, 25-20, 15-8 in Saturday’s PIAA Class 4A volleyball final at Richland High School in Johnstown.
“That was a really good team,” said Parkland head coach Mike Krause. “Everything they did, they didn’t hit the ball out of play, the setter put the ball on pins extremely well.
An overwhelming favorite to win the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship, Parkland entered this season with a clear understanding that it would get each team's best shot every time out.
But the Trojans embrace their status and have seemingly everything - size, quickness, balance, depth and experience - to succeed.
They also know how to win, as evidenced by back-to-back District 11 titles and a dominant performance in every tournament they entered throughout the summer.
A quick glance at the six finalists in this year's PIAA Volleyball Championships at Richland High School revealed an unusual trend: All three matches featured teams from District 11.
Marian Catholic was the district's Class A representative, while Bethlehem Catholic took the honor in Class AA and Parkland earned the spot in the Class AAA match.
Two of the three teams, Bethlehem Catholic and Parkland, walked away with state championships, while Marian suffered a five-set defeat to Greensburg Central Catholic.
HERSHEY - Parkland's Mikayla Stoudt has proven before that she can perform at a high level at less than 100 percent, earning a 19th-place medal at last year's PIAA Championships despite running with a broken bone in her foot.
This past Saturday, the Trojans' talented sophomore returned to Hershey and again impressed with a 14th-place finish in 19:08 on what proved to be a difficult day.
A quick glance at the podium of this year's District 11 Class AAA boys cross country meet may have given some people a sense of déjà vu.
For the second consecutive year, Easton's Colin Abert took the win, blitzing the Bethlehem Golf Club course with an astonishing time of 15 minutes, 43 seconds, breaking his own course record set a week earlier at the LVC championships by 21 seconds
Abert finished 49 seconds in front of Freedom junior Ben Ziegler, who led a 2, 5, 8, 9, 13 finish for the Patriots, which ran to their second straight District 11 team title.
Competition has driven Parkland's Mikayla Stoudt all year.
That is, when she's had competition.
Stoudt has been in a league of her own throughout much of the season, finishing first in each of the Trojans' five conference quad meets and claiming the Lehigh Valley Conference championship meet after taking second a year ago.
That success earned her Lehigh Valley Conference MVP, no small feat for a sophomore.