Veteran Red Lion coach Ashleigh Reinert was just a bit concerned during warm-ups when she looked over at the size of the Cumberland Valley volleyball team and then looked at her own undersized squad and wondered if the Lions would be at a disadvantage.
She didn't have to wonder for long, though, as her Lions rolled over the Eagles with a balanced attack in three straight games (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) Wednesday night at Cumberland Valley High School.
The Lions were just more consistent in handling the ball and used the quick shoot set to keep the Eagles off-balance.
With the first game tied at four, Hunter Klein served five consecutive points to give the Lions a lead they never gave up. The Eagles cut the lead to 14-10 before Lion junior Dan Longnecker added four straight points, including an ace and several Eagle errors. Jesus Gonzalez, Alec Christopher, and big man Jared Warner put the game away.
The Eagles (2-6) finally got an opportunity to set their big man Thomas D'Arcy in the second game. Andrew Frank and D'Arcy nailed several of Clayton Pirtle's sets to the ground to keep the game within reach.
Dan Jones served five points to put the Lions up, but the Eagles rallied. Trailing 20-15, the Eagles responded and took a short-lived lead at 21-20 on two Pirtle aces and a Lion error. Longnecker returned to the service box to close out the contest at 25-21 as Warner nailed two quick sets and then blocked an Eagle kill attempt before an Eagle long hit ended the game.
"We just didn't do a good job of setting the ball or finishing sets," Eagles coach Terry Ranck said. "We just haven't been consistent from night to night. At one point in the second game, we already had 21 mishits. That was almost half of their points at that point. We can play much better and we need to continue working at it."
Junior libero Joey Rorhbaugh took to the front line in the final game for the Eagles and had six kills. D'Arcy finally settled down and put several shots to the floor but in the end, the Lions were a bit more consistent at keeping bad balls in play and finishing off opportunities.
"I was bit concerned when I looked across at them, but our team has really been playing together," Reinert said. "We didn't play well against Carlisle Monday night. I don't know if it was just Monday or what -- they came out much better tonight. Most teams have one or two kids with a lot of hits but when I look at our stats, we have a bunch of kids near the same number. It allowed us to move kids around to serve match-ups better."
Five different Lion players had at least five kills, led by Warner with nine. Setter Longnecker handled the ball well and spread the wealth around. Gonzalez and Chandler Ehrhart each added six kills for the Lions.
D'Arcy, Frank, and Rohrbaugh, particularly in the final game, led the Eagles. Sophomores Michael Hoare and Michael Fisher also helped the Eagle cause.