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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.