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MECHANICSBURG — Mechanicsburg opened the Mid-Penn season with a matchup against a very similar Hershey team. They both struggled through some growing pains last season, but expect to be near the top of the pile contending for a division title. The Trojans took advantage of their size and an injury to sweep the Wildcats, 3-0, with set scores being 25-22, 25-20, and 25-15, Tuesday night at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School.
The opening game for first year Wildcats coach Jake Heck was going well as the teams were tied six times before the game reached 11 points. Robert Sosa served four consecutive points to give the Wildcats a 14-10 lead, but some sloppy ball-handling allowed the Trojans to get within two.
At 15-12, the Wildcats’ Ian Capp went up for a block, but came down awkwardly on his foot and had to be helped off the court. He did not return to the match.
The Wildcats again kept the match close as Quay San and Jamail Collottia kept Mechanicsburg in with some slick ball-handling and kills on sets by Kaden Knepper.
Mechanicsburg (0-1, 0-1 Keystone) led 22-21, but a hit by Sean Drozynski was blocked by Ryan Crawford and it seemed to spark the Trojans. Crawford added another block and Nate Dougherty added two kills on sets by Dillon D’Amour to close out the first game.
“We seemed to get our bad play out of the way in the first game,” Hershey coach Nate Erdman said. “We seemed to click at the end of the first game and through the second and third games. Our size did make a difference. We have two kids at 6-feet-5 tall and we have really been working on our blocking. We also were able to match up with their strengths when Ian went down.”
Both teams were even again through the early part of the second game. Collottia scored four straight points on his serve and Knepper and San were in sync to get the Wildcats a tie at 14.
Malachi Long stepped to the service line and serves six consecutive points, two of which were aces and the Trojans jumped out to a 20-14 lead.
Knepper added a couple of aces on his jump serve as the Trojan defense struggled to pick up the serve and the Mechanicsburg trailed 23-19.
Hershey (1-0, 1-0) used the quick set to the middle and used Cole Carver to kill the quick sets. Outside sets by D’Amour were usually by Jon Abbott, Armeno Pelligrino and Crawford.
San kept the second game alive as he pounded a set through the big man block but on the next ball, D’Amour tipped a dink off a Wildcat hand for the winning point.
“I saw some really good things out there,” Mechanicsburg coach Jake Heck said. “I would have liked to have had Ian a lot longer this year but we did play better tonight. We need to clean up some of the ball-handling errors and we can’t afford to give away points like that. We will be fine this year, just wish I had some of that size that definitely made a difference.”
Andrew Sam, a junior varsity player and back-up libero, came on and served up three straight aces to jump start the Trojans in the final game. The Trojans led 9-4 and 14-8 before Erdman started to substitute some younger players. Mechanicsburg cut the lead to 18-14 before Danny Reeves put away three sets from D’Amour to close out the game.
Carver led the way with 11 kills and nine blocks. D’Amour had 27 assists and Crawford added eight kills and five blocks.
For the Wildcats, San led the way with 10 kills, 16 digs, one ace and three blocks. Kaden added 18 assists and two aces. Jamail added five kills.
“Quay is crucial to our team but I saw some good things with keeping balls alive,” said Heck. “We should be able to win some games this year, we just need to keep injuries to a minimum.”
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LEWSIBERRY — The Red Land boys volleyball team is still finding ways to improve.
The Patriots are one of District 3’s best Class AA teams, currently ranked No. 5 in the power rankings, but opponents are starting to see some flaws in the Patriots’ passing game.
“For the first time in my coaching career I’m making full-scale in-season adjustments,” Red Land head coach Dan Mickel said. “States is our end game. We’re not making these changes to win the division or the conference. We’re making these changes to get into the District semifinals and the finals. We want to be the first team to make the state tournament.”
Lofty expectations, but with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18 and 25-17) sweep over visiting Keystone Division foe Mechanicsburg (4-5, 1-3 Keystone) Tuesday the Patriots (7-3, 3-2) moved one step closer to the postseason.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Wildcats head coach Bryan Dirks said. “We hung with them for a while in each match. Then we made a couple mistakes and hung our heads. That’s when they took over. That’s a good team over there, but we’re a better team than the one you saw (Tuesday).”
In the early goings of all three games the scores were close. The first game saw the score knotted 22-22, the second it was 18-18 and in the third it was 12-12 before Red Land went on a big run to pull ahead or close out the game.
“It’s that lack of consistency we talked about before,” Dirks said. “We had our chances, but they just kept at us, they didn’t give up. We’ll head back to practice to keep working, to keep improving.”
Sentiments echoed by Mickel.
“With the changes we’re making we’ve got to keep working to make sure we’re comfortable,” he said. “We didn’t just adjust our personnel on the floor, we changed how we play and what we expect different guys to do. When we had our success it was because those are the guys making the adjustments faster or those were the rotations that closest resembled our previous schemes.”
Patriot Dough Schriner led all hitters with a game-high 19 kills, junior setter Tyler Zeiders served up 32 asists and Zach Gray had five kills and one ace in the win.
Rogan Barrick and Quay San combined for 13 kills for Mechancisburg. Kaden Knepper had 10 digs and Frank Hoy had 21 assists in the loss.
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Over the last few years, Mechanicsburg has struggled to get some victories, going winless a year ago. Then, just before the 2013 season the team struggled with the passing of teammate James Wilson.
But despite the difficult experiences the Wildcats seem to be persevering — and earning some wins.
“These seniors have been through some tough times,” Mechanicsburg coach Bryan Dirks said. “It’s good to see these seniors having fun and winning some matches.”
Tuesday the Wildcats picked up their third win on the season and second in a row with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23 and 25-23) sweep over the visiting Cedar Cliff Colts in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division tilt.
“For the first game all season we played with some consistency,” Colts coach Gary Frutiger said. “I haven’t looked at the stats, but I think this was a record night for us.”
Both teams ended the match talking about the success they had during the match. By looking at the scores, it’s easy to see why. The three games were decided by a combined six points, with a four point difference in the first game being the largest.
“Each game could have gone either way,” Dirks said. “We felt we were playing at their level so we knew it could have been close.”
Frutiger said the difference really came down to his team missing some serves at critical times. Dirks thought it was his team’s defense that pushed the Wildcats to victory.
Both coaches had the right idea and perhaps the biggest difference was really what team was able to capitalize on the opportunities presented in the games.
Take the first match for example, a 25-21 Mechanicsburg (3-4, 2-2 Keystone) victory. For the better part of the opening match, the game was back and forth with neither team able to pull away. However, with the Wildcats leading 18-17, they went on a 7-4 run to close out the win. During the final 11 serves, Mechanicsburg had one kill from senior Rogan Barrick (seven kills) and a block from junior Quay San (eight kills, four blocks). The five other Wildcat points came off of Cedar Cliff errors.
“We were able to get something going and build off that,” Dirks said. “Our defense started things, just like it did against Cumberland Valley and we were able to use that momentum.”
In the second game, the Wildcats held a commanding 24-19 lead and looked poised to finish things off, but Cedar Cliff (0-5, 0-4 Keystone) got a kill from junior Ethan Wilson (nine kills) followed with an ace from Wilson and two Mechanicsburg hitting errors to pull within one point. Howver, the Colts were then called for a double-hit giving the Wildcats the 25-23 win.
In the third game Mechanicsburg got to game point, 24-21 before giving up two points to the Colts, just to make things interesting. But once again a Cedar Cliff miscue led to a win for the Wildcats.
“They were taller than us,” Dirks said of the Colts. “But our guys played tall. We contested a lot of their shots at the net and we were able to get some of our shots down on them. It was a lot different than when we played CV because they really just tried to blast us, Cedar Cliff looked for their spots and tried to take advantage of the angles.”
Article by Jeremy Elliott, pennlive.com
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Mechanicsburg boys’ volleyball hasn’t had much to cheer about the last two season, but that changed Thursday night.
The Wildcats shocked Cumberland Valley with a 3-2 decision that included a 15-13 closeout in Game 5 to seal the team’s second win this season. Bryan Dirks squad was winless last season.
Sophomore Kaden Knepper was a defensive monster with 22 digs. Offensively, he chipped in five aces.
Rogan Barrick continues to put big numbers up this season, smashing 16 kills into the teeth of the Eagles defense. Quay San chipped in 10 kills and also had 13 digs.
Article by Sam Butler, The Sentinel
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As the 2011 Mid-Penn boys volleyball season nears its close, the Mechanicsburg Wildcats are still without their first win of the year, but they came oh-so-close Tuesday at home.
The Wildcats fell just six points short of that illusive first win, losing to the Hershey Trojans 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 24-26 and 23-25).
Still, Mechanicsburg head coach Chris Fabian was pleased with the effort his very young team displayed – not only in this match, but all season long.
“We’ve got a lot of guys getting a lot of playing time,” Fabian said. “The guys have been working real hard, and they’re really starting to come together. I’ve got a roster with a lot of inexperienced guys; there are only three four-year seniors out there. The rest are freshman and sophomores. I do have one senior that’s played for only two years. With the experience we have, I think they are playing well.”
Fabian’s words were an indication of what the Mechanicsburg volleyball program has been going through in recent years, a major reason why the Mechanicsburg Area School District is considering cutting the boys volleyball program in a cost-cutting move.
“It’s bad timing,” Fabian said of the recent announcement. “Everyone wants to know what’s going to happen, and I don’t know what to say. The timing is bad because it came during our season, and the kids, who should be focusing on our next match, are wondering about what’s going to happen.”
As of right now, the funding for the boys’ 2012 season is not in the budget, but that does not mean volleyball is over at Mechanicsburg. There is talk of the Athletic Booster Club financing the sport, as it does for the lacrosse and water polo programs.
No matter what happens next year, the Wildcats played valiantly Tuesday and showed what kind of impact the sport has on the 12 young men on the roster.
“You can see the effort every time out,” Fabian said. “These kids are putting in the work; they just don’t stop.”
The Wildcats trailed 4-0, 19-13 and 23-21 in the first game, but responded with two 6-0 runs and a 4-0 run to pull out the 25-23 win. Micah Isley managed two blocks and one kill to lead Mechanicsburg in the first game.
In the second game, it was more of the same as Mechanicsburg took a 3-2 lead in the early going before needing to claw its way back to a second lead at 23-22. A 3-0 Hershey run ended the second game 25-23 in favor of the visitors. Matthew Crownover had four kills while Isley and Josh Logan each had two in the second game.
Game three was a 26-24 Trojan win, and once again the Wildcats seemingly had control, 24-20, before Hershey rolled off six-straight points for the win. Again is was Crownover who paced the Mechanicsburg offense, with six kills and a block in the third game, Isley chipped in with four kills and a block.
The fourth and final game had the Wildcats battling back once again over the final few points, but the Trojans finally put the game away, 25-23. Crownover and Logan both had three kills in the fourth game.
“We made it exciting,” Fabian said. “Josh has been playing really well and working on his defense. Micah is that second-year senior, and he has been playing very well. And Crownover, he’s what we expect him to be every time out, just a quality all-around player.”
Crownover led the Wildcats with 14 kills and four blocks on the outside, Isley had nine kills and five blocks in the middle, and Logan had five kills. Robbie Hoy served up 31 assists in the loss.
Mechanicsburg has two matches left in its season – Thursday against Northern and Monday against Cedar Cliff, in what might be the final boys volleyball match for the foreseeable future at Mechanicsburg high school.
Lift for Life is the signature event of “Uplifting Athletes,” a nonprofit organization created by Penn State Football student-athletes. Their mission is to align college football with rare diseases and recognize them as a national priority. MASH students have joined the effort of the Penn State chapter to raise money and promote awareness for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney cancer. This rare disease has directly affected several staff members at MASH in recent years. Don Shirley, the inspiration behind the Lift for Life initiative, lost his decade long battle with kidney cancer in October, 2006. His death has strengthened our resolve to continue his work. All proceeds raised by the Lift for Life event benefit the Kidney Cancer Association. Since 2003, over $300,000 has been raised for this cause, and as a result, a number of new breakthroughs have been developed in the fight against this deady disease. The Lift for Life competition consists of an eleven-event competition, wherefour-member male or female teams compete. The exercises vary from traditional fitness and lifting activities such as the bench press, to more extreme challenges, such as the giant tire flip. We are inviting you to join us in the fight against kidney cancer.