It's not uncommon for standout boys’ volleyball players to be friendly with stars on rival squads.
York Suburban senior Nate Bowman, however, is taking it to another level next fall when he competes for Messiah College.
It just so happens that Bowman’s roommate during his freshman year will be Manheim Central standout Mason Nissley. Nissley recently helped his Barons claim an impressive 3-0 sweep over Bowman and his Trojans last Friday in the District 3 Class 2-A final.
Thanks in large part to Nissley’s efforts, Bowman was unable to achieve his average kill rate, which is well into double figures.
“Mason is actually one of my really good friends,” Bowman said. “And I think he was basically told to just go wherever I went Friday.”
Nissley helped limit Bowman, one of Suburban’s top attackers, to under 10 kills in the district title game.
Bowman hoping for rematch: Not surprisingly, Bowman hopes that memory isn’t the last one between the pending roommates at the high school level.
“I just hope we beat them so I don’t have to hear about it for the next four years,” Bowman said.
Bowman isn’t alone in that regard, especially when it comes to the potential that he and his teammates have. Many York-area boys’ volleyball fans felt that Suburban would have likely won at least one PIAA Class 2-A title over the past decade had it not been for Northeastern, which won the last six 2-A state titles.
The fact that the Bobcats have moved up to 3-A this season hasn’t done much to damper expectations for nearly everyone in the Suburban volleyball community.
Everyone, that is, except the Trojans themselves.
“I don’t think that anyone (on the team) really thinks about it like that,” Bowman said. “We just try to go about it the same way every game no matter who’s on the other side of the court.”
High expectations: Expectations surrounding the Trojans have been pretty high all season. And it’s not just friends and fans either. The Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association has placed Suburban atop the 2-A state rankings for most of the season. The Trojans likely would have remained atop those rankings had they been able to capture the program’s first District 3 title in seven years last week.
Bowman felt that he and his teammates fell into a trap of over confidence heading into that match. Suburban had beaten Manheim Central during the regular season, 3-2.
“I think that we were a little cocky actually,” Bowman said. “We knew we beat them in the regular season, but that obviously wasn’t the right feel for us to go into that game.”
While losing is never a goal of any highly-touted athletic team, Bowman does feel that the message that the Manheim Central boys sent them Friday has a silver lining.
“Yeah, it was kind of a wake-up call for us,” he said. “We know that they always have a great team. For us, it’s just a matter of what team shows up.”
Looking strong in state opener: The Trojans looked every bit a team that could hoist the PIAA 2-A title this past Tuesday vs. District 12 champ Lansdale Catholic. Bowman and his teammates cruised to an impressive 25-13, 25-18, 25-5 triumph.
The next step in what the Trojans hope becomes a four-game winning streak to end the season takes place Saturday in the quarterfinals. The District 3 runner-up will take on District 2 champ Holy Redeemer at Schuylkill Valley High School in Leesport at 12:30 p.m.
A victory over the Royals, a program that has been similarly foiled year after year during Northeastern’s dominance over the past six years, would get the Trojans into the semifinal round next Tuesday. If the Barons (ranked No. 1 by the PVCA) and Trojans (ranked No. 3) take care of business Saturday, it would set up a winner-take-all rematch between the two teams.
For his part, Bowman sounded like a confident person about a possible rubber match with MC.
“I think that we’re done with losing,” he said. “(I think) we just win out until June 8 (in the state final at Penn State).”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.